LEWISTON, N.Y. -- Just a couple months ago, Arundel Top Guns striker David Kozak was a reserve striving for playing time. With the U.S. Youth Soccer Region I boys under-15 title on the line, however, Kozak stepped up and became the Top Guns' top gun.
For the second straight day, Kozak scored the match's only goal, giving Arundel a 1-0 decision over the Oakwood (Conn.) Soccer Club in the U-15 final at the Lewiston Porter Sports Complex.
"He was in the right place at the right time," said midfielder Jonathan Cole, who had the assist. "He plays from his heart. He inspired the team with his effort."
Midway through the first half, Cole allowed David Briefel's throw-in to run so he could step past a defender. Cole collected the ball and fed Kozak at the top of the penalty area.
Kozak's hard, high shot to the upper right was stopped by the goalkeeper, but Kozak slipped in to drill home the rebound.
"It was a rising shot. I thought it might go in," Kozak said of his initial attempt. "The goalkeeper just got his hands up, but I just followed my shot. We've had strong defense throughout the tournament. I felt if we could score first, we could weather the storm."
Arundel goalkeeper Jason Muffoletto's point-blank stop of Oakwood's Matthew DeDomionicis late in the second half helped preserve the win.
"I know the team is counting on me to come up with the saves at the right time," said Muffoletto, who with sweeper Matt Perzinski keyed the Top Guns' defense throughout the five-game, three-day tournament.
It was the end of the road for the Top Guns, too young to go to the USYS national tournament July 27-30 in West Palm Beach, Fla.
The Braddock Road American Eagles White defeated the Columbia City United, 2-0, in the boys U-16 championship match.
The Wilton (Conn.) Speed blasted the Chesapeake Bay Thunder, 5-0, in the girls U-18 title contest.
And Maryland's fourth finalist, the MSI Falcons of Montgomery County, lost, 1-0, to the Chantilly (Va.) Hotspurs.