Perfection is seldom achieved in any sport, but the El Camino Real girls’ soccer team will be playing for more than just its 15th City Section title at Valley College. It will also try to accomplish a rare feat — navigating through an entire season without surrendering a goal to a City opponent.
The second-seeded Royals (14-3-3) defeated third-seeded Palisades 2-0 for the second time this season Tuesday at Sepulveda Basin Sports Complex for their 14th consecutive shutout. They have not allowed a goal since Dec. 21 and have given up only three this season — all to Southern Section teams — and each cost them a victory.
El Camino Real has outscored its last 14 opponents 39-0 and takes pride in its impenetrable defense. Of course, the Royals have plenty of offensive firepower and it was on display against Palisades (14-2-2), which sought to avenge its nonleague loss on Jan. 4.
In the 18th minute, junior Sharon Alcocer scored the only goal the Royals needed off a feed from Sophia Frederick inside the penalty area, tucking the ball just inside the post. Alcocer added insurance on a well-placed strike to the upper right corner five minutes into the second half, while Royals goalie Isabella Andrino leaped as high as she could to get her glove on the ball to deflect it of the crossbar and out of bounds to preserve the clean sheet 20 minutes from full time.
“We take a lot of pride in not letting teams score but I give the credit to my defense,” Andrino said. “There have been some games where I didn’t touch the ball once. The whole key is our communication. We had one miscommunication today and it almost cost us so we have to be sure to talk so that doesn’t happen again.”
El Camino Real last won a City title in 2018 and faces West Valley League rival Cleveland for the championship in a rematch of last year’s final, which Cleveland won 4-2. The Cavaliers beat Granada Hills 6-5 in penalty kicks Tuesday after a scoreless regulation and overtime.
After a 1-0 win and a 0-0 tie versus Cleveland in league play, ECR coach Eric Choi knows the Cavaliers are capable of an upset if his team does not stick to the formula.
“In league play, the shutout streak meant a lot to us because there were more games to play, but now in the playoffs it’s all about victories, however you can get them,” Choi said. “Anything can happen in a championship game and we understand that.”