DUBLIN -- The Dublin High boys soccer team captured its second North Coast Section Division II championship in five years Saturday, beating Hercules 3-1 in a penalty kick shootout after the two teams were tied 2-2 through regulation time and two overtime periods.
The Gaels ended the season with just one loss in their last 17 games, which included a 4-0 win over Acalanes on Jan. 29 and a 2-0 win over Diablo Foothill Athletic League champion Campolindo in the NCS Division II semifinals on Wednesday.
In 2010, the Gaels also won the NCS Division II title in penalty kicks.
"I knew we could win NCS when we had our team meeting and this was one of our goals," Dublin coach James Fulwiler said. "Our second game against Acalanes was the turning point, because it showed we could dominate a game."
Saturday's effort was a team effort for the Gaels, as senior keeper and captain Andrew Totaro gave way to Jeremy Schuler for the penalty kicks, because of limitations due to a right knee injury.
"Since November 8th, everything has been about winning a title," Totaro said. "The team comes first, and I come second. I can't really push off my right leg, so taking me out was a no-brainer."
Schuler didn't disappoint, stopping two of the four penalty kicks that he faced.
"I knew coming in for PK's was a possibility from the start," Schuler said. "So I just wanted to be ready to come in to do my small job and make this great moment happen."
The great moment that the Gaels (21-2-4) will remember is Matt Samaro with his hands in the air after knocking home the clinching penalty kick.
"I was confident and I stepped up just like it was any other game, and buried it," Samaro said. "When the ball went in, it's a feeling I can't describe."
Penalty kicks were a theme in regulation as both teams benefited. Hercules (19-3-6) struck first in the 21st minute when Jeremy Romero was awarded a penalty.
Christian Brosius leveled for Dublin on an outstanding free kick in the 26th minute, then Anthony Herrington scored on a penalty in the 40th minute. Herrington also put his kick away during penalties.
The Titans forced overtime thanks to an Alex Marques goal just two minutes into the second half.