El Camino unable to complete Cinderella season in overtime against Cleveland in the CIF LA City Section Girls’ Soccer Division I Championship.

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Cleveland

Supporters were treated to a thrilling match on Friday Feb 23 at Monarch Stadium. A rematch from last year’s city section final had a lot of emotion for both sides. The El Camino Royals and the Cleveland Cavaliers fought an evenly matched game that ended in overtime. For Cleveland it was a sweet victory after having lost in the final last year. A bittersweet ending for El Camino, who, against all odds, managed to get back to the final for the second year straight. Both sides played with intensity and passion. In the end the Cavaliers and Royals gave everything. The only separation between both sides came in the final five minutes of overtime. A moment frozen in time for those in the stands. The Cleveland Cavaliers emerged victorious as the CIF City Section D1 champions. The El Camino Royals finish as the runner ups.

The defensive backline of both teams were tested Friday night. The cheering from the crowd possessed both sides as they battled physically on every challenge. Play after play Cleveland and El Camino fought to outdo one another. Every attempt down the flank, by the wingers of each side, was denied by the defenders. In the eighty minutes freshman Mia Astorga of El Camino was tested. Twice, Astorga denied the Cavaliers from two lethal shots on target, keeping her side in the game.

Chances were created by the two teams but none were converted. At the end of eighty minutes the teams remained as they began the game, equal. In overtime a key injury shifted the momentum in favor of the Cleveland side. Senior Sharon Alcocer of El Camino sustained an injury that would have her sit out.

Without the presence of Alcocer, in extra time, Cleveland began attacking with more confidence. In the final minutes of extra time, battling fatigue, El Camino battled to create a chance. Cleveland won the ball on a turnover and passed the ball down the right flank to freshman Grace Burgos who cut in. With precision Burgos passed the ball to sophomore Yesenia Gomez who took no more than two touches to place a brilliant shot from outside the box past Mia Astorga. After a rollercoaster of a match both sides had given their respective sides a game that will be ingrained in the memories of those who had the privilege to witness a competitive battle between two respected programs.

Eric Choi’s final thoughts for El Camino were of gratitude for his side. “I’m really proud of them. They played hard. You win some and you lose some.” Having had limited resources because of the lack of a field at El Camino, the Royals exit with class and their heads held high.

Despite placing second in the West Valley league the Cleveland Cavaliers progress into regional play as the champions of the city of Los Angeles. Coach Greg Ibach hopes the Cavaliers continue with their momentum into regional play. Ibach’s final remarks on the contest were “The match could have gone either way. Enjoy this moment.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers get the victory at Monarch Stadium to become the CIF LA City Section Girls’ Soccer Division I Champions. Both the Cavaliers and the Royals will discover their opponents in the CIF State regional playoffs in the coming days.

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