In a stunning series of three consecutive playoff upset victories, the Samohi men’s volleyball varsity Vikings have advanced to the CIF Division III “final four” semifinals. They play number two ranked Oxnard at Pacific High School in Oxnard today. The winner will advance to the CIF Championship finals on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
The Vikings entered the 32 team playoffs unranked, having finished second in the Ocean League regular season. In a first round road game, the Norsemen defeated favored Costa Mesa three games to one on May 13th. They next hosted Los Altos of Hacienda Heights on May 18th, and Valencia of Placentia last Friday. In both home matches, the Vikings won three games to one. All three opponents were ranked and favored to win.
“We are playing teams far better than most we faced in the Ocean League and the team really rose to the occasion,” notes Head Coach Liane Sato. “They are playing with discipline, intensity and making fewer errors. The team has been adjusting very well to offset our opponents’ strengths. Our team has been very supportive of each other which has been the case all season long.”
The Ocean League coaches have voted awards for this year’s best players and Samohi setter, Fred McLafferty, is league MVP. Joining Fred on all league first team are co-juniors Neil Cline and Michael Campbell. Senior Ian Quick, junior Bronson Oliveira and sophomore Ari Feldman were named to all league second team.
As a cluster of CIF Championship Banners high on the walls of the Samohi gym attests, there was a time in earlier decades when the Vikings dominated CIF men’s volleyball. The current skein of playoff upsets suddenly puts yet another banner within Viking reach.