Animo Venice team co-captain Lizeth Lopez scored the game-winning goal Thursday in a 3-2 win over Middle College in the opening round of the girls soccer small schools playoffs.
Lopez also scored on a free kick in the second half in the Los Angeles City Section CIF Small Schools Division playoff match at Los Angeles Southwestern College.
Animo Venice took a 1-0 lead just before haltime when Alexandra Rodriguez made a pass to Madison Hellier-Carvalho who found a slot and blasted in a shot for a goal. Middle College tied the game in the second half before Lopez put Animo Venice up 2-1 with her free kick.
Middle College immediately tied the score 2-2. Animo Venice, however, chipped away at the Middle College defense until Laura Chavez fed the ball to Lopez who toed in the game-winning goal.
“It was not our best performance in a pretty hostile environment” Animo Venice Coach Kevin Garcia said, referring to the gusty winds that at one point turned over the Middle College goal just as a shot was being made on it. “We haven’t really had a consistent home field, so although we were the higher seed, we played at their home field. But the girls showed that they know how to win."
The Animo Venice High School girls soccer team won their second straight Ocean League campionship this season, finishing with a 12-1 overall record and 9-1 league record. The girls are the fifth seed in the Small Schools Division and advance to the quarterfinals with the win. They next play Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Fulton High at Fulton High School in Van Nuys.