Mira Costa rallies three times to beat Birmingham for soccer title

·5 min read
Mira Costa's Thomas Southey (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Birmingham on Saturday.
Mira Costa's Thomas Southey (19) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Birmingham on Saturday. (Nick Koza)

Friends since they were 5 years old while playing AYSO soccer together in Manhattan Beach, Thomas Crawford and Thomas Southey locked their sweaty arms around each other while listening to their coach on a hot Saturday afternoon in Lake Balboa.

"You guys refused to lose," Al Brown told the players.

It was their final high school game for Mira Costa High, a team of neighborhood kids that knocked off the top-seeded team last month to win the Southern Section title, and somehow rallied three times from one-goal deficits to defeat Birmingham 4-3 in overtime on a golden goal from Tanner Mendelsohn to win the Southern California Division I regional championship.

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"From where we started, it's crazy," Southey said. "We came together as a team and look where we are now. They were the No. 1 team in California and I guess we are now."

Birmingham (18-1-1) held a 1-0 lead at halftime. The second half was wild. Mira Costa tied it, then Birmingham went up 2-1. Mira Costa tied it, then Birmingham went up 3-2. Elias Kraus tied it, and the physicality of Mira Costa wore down the Patriots in overtime.

Crawford's throw-ins caused Birmingham problems all day. The fact he was even playing was a surprise. He said he might have ligament damage in his knee and had missed the last two games.

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"I felt I needed to play," he said. "This is my last high school game ever. I wanted to play until I could not."

Michael Crisera had two goals for the Mustangs. Diego Nava, Enrique Pineda and Anthony Miron scored for the Patriots.

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"I've known these guys for my whole life," Crawford said. "Public schools don't really win these things because we don't recruit. We all play for each other and that's what won us this. We knew we could beat them, but being down by a goal three different times it shows we have a ton of resiliency."

Crawford, wearing a knee brace, and the other seniors were headed to the Mira Costa prom Saturday night.

Bad knee or not, Crawford said, "I'll be dancing tonight."

In Division 3 boys, Salesian won the championship with a 1-0 win over Norte Vista. Ernesto Vergara scored the game's only goal.

Thompson sisters star

No. 1 from start to finish. Unbeatable from start to finish. That's the best way to describe the girls' soccer season for Studio City Harvard-Westlake, which won its 19th consecutive game with a 6-1 defeat of Garden Grove Pacifica in the Division 1 regional final.

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The Thompson sisters were spectacular. Sophomore Alyssa Thompson scored four goals, giving her 48 on the season. Freshman Gisele Thompson scored two goals.

There were a couple of close games this season, but Harvard-Westlake's speed and skill left the Wolverines in a class by themselves.

Volleyball champions

There were no girls' volleyball playoffs in the Southern Section because of COVID-19 restrictions. The City Section decided to delay its season until the spring, and that enabled Palisades to win the Open Division championship Saturday with a 25-17, 25-15, 25-18 sweep of Granada Hills.

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Chatsworth won the Open Division boys' title with a 3-1 win over Taft. William Wright led Chatsworth with 18 kills.

Van Nuys won its first Division I boys' championship by defeating Sylmar 3-1. University defeated Verdugo Hills 3-0 to win the Division II boys' championship.

Softball

Chino Hills 10, South Torrance 0: Mykenzie Hanna hit a three-run home run to end the game in the fifth inning via mercy rule.

Whittier Christian 10, Highland 1: Brooklyn Carreon struck out 14 and allowed one hit.

Villa Park 6, St. Paul 0: Sydney Somerndike had 14 strikeouts.

Norco 10, Orange Lutheran 0: Top-seeded Norco (26-1) got a grand slam from Mya Perez. Stevie Hansen allowed one hit.

Murrieta Mesa 1, Crescenta Valley 0: In the eighth inning, Kaylee Oh hit a walk-off home run.

Boys' basketball

Birmingham 101, Grant 75: The No. 2-seeded Patriots advanced to the City Section Open Division semifinals behind David Elliott, who scored 47 points. They will face Fairfax, a 72-34 winner over Granada Hills. Barry Wilds scored 26 points.

Chatsworth 68, Sun Valley Poly 56: The top-seeded Chancellors advanced in the Division I playoffs.

Crenshaw 79, University 57: The Cougars, led by Kevin Bradley, cruised in Division I. Bradley scored 25 points and William Lawson 20.

Palisades 52, Gardena 50: The Dolphins held on in the Division I quarterfinals.

Arcadia 64, Paramount 60: The Apaches have reached the championship game in 4AA.

Girls' basketball

Esperanza 61, Rosary 56: The Aztecs advanced to the Division 1 championship game.

Lacrosse

Village Christian 13, Vista Murrieta 9: The Crusaders won the Division 3 girls' championship in only their second year of existence.

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Delaney Konjoyan scored five goals, giving her 61 on the season. Layla Cates scored five goals, giving her 54 goals this season.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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