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VAN NUYS — The two halves of this championship could not be more different. The first had five goals and many shots on goal. The second half had a slower, more methodical pace, with defense and good saves from the goalkeeper.
El Camino Real almost tied the match multiple times throughout the second half, never letting Cleveland slip away. However, with only a few minutes remaining, Cleveland sophomore Keira Preis got past multiple defenders to score what would be the match-sealing goal.
“We went out looking for what we wanted and we got it,” said Cleveland coach Hector Ramirez. “We are all so proud of our girls.”
Cleveland defeated El Camino Real 4-2 in the City Section Division I girls soccer final at LA Valley College Friday night. It was Cleveland’s first Division I title in program history and the first since 2005 (Invitational).
The game started off with a ton of offense. El Camino Real scored right away with a goal in the third minute courtesy of sophomore Ava Tibor. However, Cleveland answered right back with a goal from senior Marisa Vogel.
Cleveland had possession of the ball almost double the amount of time. In total, they had 13 shots on goal compared to El Camino Real’s five.
“Cleveland put a lot of pressure on us, they got off the shots that they needed,” said El Camino Real coach Eric Choi. “They were better on this day.”
The first continued to go on in a similar fashion, back and forth offense, score after score. Tibor was responsible for another goal in the first half. Cleveland senior Jysebella Tolentino also scored two goals in the first half, at the 15’ and 35’ minutes respectively.
“We knew it was going to be high scoring since we have played them before,” said Rameriz.
“The West Valley league is intense. When you step on that field it’s on.”
The second half slowed down considerably, with no scoring until Preis’s in the final minutes. The goalkeepers for both teams were able to stop good looking shots, Cleveland’s Madiosn Lee and El Camino’s Isabella Andrino getting three saves each.
“At times we had trouble getting settled on the ball, as a passing team that was a challenge for us,” said Choi. “I’m proud of the way our girls played.”
Cleveland finishes their championship run with a record of 21-3-4 while El Camino falls to 17-4-4
“This win is for all the parents, all the girls, all the coaches, but mostly for all the regular high schools out there. It can be done.”
After finishing the game tied 1-1, Venice defeated Kennedy 3-0 via penalty kicks in the Division II championship game earlier on Friday afternoon.