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Munoz's heroics give Servite thrilling victory
ANAHEIM -- Daniel Munoz doesn't really know what happened in the closing seconds of stoppage time on Tuesday's CIF-SS Division 1 semifinal.
Loyola's goalkeeper could have punched the ball away or it could have bounced off one of his Servite boys soccer teammates standing in the box.
But there was the ball, sitting right next to Munoz, a defender who has knocked in one varsity goal during his career.
His second, though, turned out to be a historic one for the Friars.
With 20 seconds remaining in the game, Munoz volleyed a shot underneath the crossbar to deliver a 1-0 victory against second-seeded Loyola of Los Angeles, putting Servite in its first CIF championship match since 1982.
Once the ball hit the back of the net, the celebration began with Munoz eventually disappearing in a crowd of a 100 or so Servite students who ran onto the field.
"All I saw was the ball heading out to the top of the box. I took a touch and drilled it," Munoz said. "It was natural. It just happened, and we are going to the finals. That is all I ever wanted."
Servite will face San Clemente in the championship match on Friday or Saturday. The CIF-SS will announce the finals schedule Wednesday.
"I think these boys have come together. The boys they believe," first-year Servite coach Jon Spencer said. "There is not one individual on the team. We are a bunch of brothers who love each other."
Had it not been for Keith Murphy, Servite's sophomore goalkeeper, Munoz's goal wouldn't have had such an impact.
Two times in the 78th minute, Murphy made diving saves, stopping Loyola shots from just outside the 6-yard box. Murphy finished with five saves in posting his third consecutive shutout.
"He has been a rock in goal. He has kept us in games all season long," Spencer said. "He puts in the hard work. He has stepped up when his time has come."