Prep roundup: El Camino Real advances to City Section soccer final on penalty kicks

Matthew Ceja of El Camino Real comes up with save by deflecting ball with his foot on Palisades' first penalty-kick attempt.
(Steve Galluzzo / For the Los Angeles Times)

After 95 minutes in which El Camino Real and Palisades could not score in a City Section Division 1 semifinal soccer playoff game, it was settled by penalty kicks Wednesday on a cold, windy field in the Sepulveda Basin. And no one stood taller than ECR goalie Matthew Ceja, who used his feet to deliver victory.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Ceja, whose team won 4-1 in penalty kicks to advance to play West Valley League rival Birmingham in Saturday’s City Section championship game at Valley College. Birmingham defeated Taft, 4-1, with Oscar Vargas scoring three goals.

El Camino Real and Palisades went scoreless through regulation and through a 15-minute overtime period, forcing the penalty kicks. From the beginning of the shootout, the Royals had the momentum. Edan Lavarovitch scored for ECR and then Ceja used his feet to deflect the ball and deny Palisades on its first attempt. The Dolphins missed another on a shot that went over the net.

The match was ended when ECR’s Jonathan Rabinovitch scored the Royals’ clinching goal, leading to a victory celebration and creating exciting about reaching the final. Birmingham and El Camino Real already have played twice, with Birmingham winning one and tying in the other. El Camino Real has won seven City titles and Birmingham four.

In Division II, Carson defeated Garfield on penalty kicks to earn a spot in the finals.


Villa Park 4, Fullerton 3: In a battle of unbeaten teams, Villa Park rallied for the win. Gavin Grahovac and Zach Brown each hit home runs. Brown also picked up the save.

Foothill 6, Santa Margarita 4: Andrew Parker, Ty Cowley, Tyler Hawkins and Andrew Harbour each had two hits for Foothill.

Eastvale Roosevelt 6, Warren 2: Chris Medina struck out four in two shutout innings of relief for 5-0 Roosevelt.

Cleveland 10, Kennedy 3: Kevin Vazquez went three for three to lead the Cavaliers.

Chaminade 5, Birmingham 4: Johnny Barnett delivered a tie-breaking RBI double in the top of the seventh for the Eagles. Birmingham had taken a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run double from JB Dalumpines. Chaminade scored two runs in the top of the seventh. It was an emotional game for the Mowry family. Birmingham coach Matt Mowry went against his son, Nolan, a catcher for Chaminade.

Bonita 4, San Dimas 2: A two-run seventh broke a 2-2 tie and lifted Bonita to victory. Diego Vazquez had two RBIs and Jared Brunk and Spencer Savage each had two hits.


Los Alamitos 2, La Mirada 0: Left-hander Cole Tryba struck out 10 in six innings.

Arcadia 9, La Serna 4: Devon Eskridge had two doubles, a single and two RBIs for Arcadia.

Anaheim Canyon 16, El Toro 1: Cohen Gomez contributed four hits and four RBIs and Johnny Lopez homered to lead Canyon.

Alemany 8, Paraclete 6: Andrew Garcia went four for four to lead Alemany.

Tesoro 5, St. John Bosco 4: Jackson Freeman had two hits and three RBIs for Tesoro.

Sylmar 10, Taft 1: Matthew Benzor struck out seven in six innings. Adrian Jaime had three hits and four RBIs.

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Feb. 22, 2023


Orange Lutheran 1, Great Oak 0: Brianne Weiss struck out 15 and allowed one hit for the Lancers.

Norco 7, Chino Hills 0: Kaley Cook contributed three hits for Norco.

Esperanza 6, La Palma Kennedy 4: Makenna Millman had three RBIs and Charley Duran struck out eight in four innings for Esperanza.

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 2, Arcadia 1: Sarah Jacobs struck out four for Notre Dame.

Village Christian 6, Immaculate Heart 1: Bree Brennan struck out 18 for Village Christian.

Girls’ basketball

Fremont 49, Camino Nuevo 17: The Pathfinders won the City Section Division V championship.