With an enrollment of barely 550 students, Animo Venice Charter High is tiny by Los Angeles City standards. The schools' girls soccer program, however, has been playing huge all season and now finds itself two victories away from the program's first section title.
The fourth-seeded Pirates (12-1-1) will travel to top-seeded Northridge Academy (14-3) in the semifinals of the City Section Small School Division (kickoff is at 3 p.m.), with the winner advancing to Friday's championship game at Miguel Contreras Learning Center against either No. 6 Port of LA or No. 2 LACES.
Animo Venice went undefeated on its way to first place in the Ocean League and is riding a 10-game winning streak dating back to a 5-0 victory over New Designs on January 19. The team has shut out seven of its 14 opponents and its only blemish was a 5-0 loss to Animo Leadership in its very first game.
The Pirates beat 13th-seeded Cudahy Elizabeth Learning Center 6-2 in the first round of the playoffs and blanked fifth-seeded Van Nuys Fulton College Prep 3-0 in the quarterfinals last Thursday.
Animo Venice will need to be on top of its game to win on Tuesday because host Northridge is on a seven-game winning streak of it own and outscored its first two playoff opponents 9-0. The Pumas went undefeated on their way to the Valley League championship.
Johnny Alcaraz took over the head coaching reins this season for Animo Venice after the team had gone 7-8-1 in its first two years under coach Tom Gordon.