El Camino Upsets Pali in City Final

The Dolphins seemed destined to win their 15th City Section title on May 21. They went undefeated in league play and blew past Monroe (3-0), Bell (3-0) and Carson (3-0) to reach the finals against El Camino Real, a team they had beaten twice during the regular season.

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The top-seeded Palisades lost in five tough games, 25-19, 20-25, 24-26, 25-16, 15-12, as ECR won its first City crown. In a May 17 Daily News story reporting on El Camino’s dominant semi-final victory over Taft reported “second-year coach Alyssa Lee said she broke down the film from the five-set victory with her players and studied Taft’s tendencies closely.” Good chance she used the same strategy against Palisades.

Pali head coach Carlos Gray had a talented team (ranked 55th nationally), but it was also inexperienced in big pressure games: three starters were freshmen (Akhil Tangutur, Marcus Partain and Justin Howard) and two were sophomores (Jeff and Scott Stuart).

The team loses senior co-captains Jason Wittbrodt and Vecas Lewin, plus PJ Hurst, Danny Miller and Matthew Mitchel, but Coach Gray can certainly look forward to next season.

Left to right: Matthew Mitchel (white), Jeff Stuart, Riley Byington, Jason Wittbrodt and PJ Hurst are in action at a home game. Photo courtesy Palisades High School Photography

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