Aly Camara wanted to add something special to his celebration after scoring another goal Saturday night.
The junior ran to the midfield stands while clutching the logo on shirt to celebrate the hat trick he tallied to help Martin Luther King capture the PSAL Class A boys soccer title, 4-0, over Beacon at Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University.
“I just wanted to do it. It was for the fans and it’s about [MLK] King heart man,” Camara said. “It’s about for lot of the guys last year. We had to win it for them.”
Camara slapped hands with the fans as his third goal of the game late in the 71st minute capped off a strong overall performance for the back-to-back city champions. MLK clinched an undefeated season and added to the league record of 17 titles that coach Martin Jacobson has delivered to Manhattan West Side school since 1996.
“We came out here and worked our butts off. King heart. King spirit,” Camara added. “We wanted to make sure we come out for the first goal and keep them without scoring and we did that. We kept the clean sheet and everybody worked.”
The Martin Luther King Campus on Monday will hold a joyous welcome not just for the boys program, but also a girls program that secured its first title in school history by earlier winning 3-2 over Columbia Secondary School in the Class B champioship game.
MLK (18-0), ranked No. 1 in New York City and No. 4 in the News 12 Varsity Tri-State Top 20 poll, jumped out in front on a beautifully crafted goal. Akeem Shelton slid a through ball to Camara, who chipped the ball over onrushing Beacon goalkeeper William Gilbert in the 16th minute to make it a 1-0 Knights lead.
Knights head coach Martin Jacobson expressed his admiration for his team’s defensive shutdown of No. 3 seed Beacon’s top forwards Jaden Graber and senior Cameron Bonfils, who combined this season to score 59 goals this season.
St. John’s University head coach Dave Masur was present to watch All-American and future Red Storm commit Sanoussi Sangary marshall a back line that physically kept Graber and Bonfils for getting quality chances at the net. Beacon’s leading scorer Graber was effectively man-marked away from the MLK box by the strength of sophomore defender Eric Affi.
“We just got them frustrated up top,” Sangary said. “We went up there and win every ball. The forwards were getting frustrated and we just compacted the middle.”
Camara dribbled past two Beacon defenders in the 61st minute to add to a 2-0 MLK advantage. MLK got stronger offensively and broke down the Blue Demons defense when Shelton fended off a defender’s failed clearance to score in the 65th minute.
It never gets old or boring for Jacobson when he joined the team to lift up another title trophy in the post-game celebration. It’s a team he strongly feels should get deserved plaudits from pundits around the nation.
“You only have to win the last game of the season. We’ve done that now two seasons in a row and we have a good streak going,” Jacobson said with a bright smile. “We’re undefeated. Finished 18-0. Undefeated. Untied. We should be the number one ranked team in the country, but that’s the ranking system. I’m just proud of my guys.”
PSAL B Final
Elmer Soriano converted the game-winning tally to help No. 13 Flushing International capture the city championship over No. 6 Franklin K. Lane, 4-2, in penalty kicks early Saturday afternoon. The Dragons (14-1-1) earned its first boys soccer title.