After reaching the “final four” and falling just one round short of last year’s CIF Championship match, Samohi men’s varsity volleyballers are back, and prospects are great with four of six starters returning. A spirited varsity-alumni pre-season practice match is a school tradition and a bumper crop of 14 Samohi alumni men basketball players returned to campus Saturday, February 18. Competition was tense as alumni and varsity battled to tie at two games each, with the alumni winning the fifth game tie breaker 15-8.Samohi’s volleyball program is storied in past success and there is no shame in losing to an alumni team that included a former member of the U.S. National Team, several past NCAA volleyball stand-outs and even a starter from last year’s Viking men’s varsity that made it to the Final Four in the CIF ’05 playoffs. The strong alumni turnout is also helped by Samohi Varsity Coach Liane Sato, a former Olympian, whose family is America’s “first family” of volleyball. All the Sato siblings played/coached in Olympic volleyball and/or NCAA competition. Under Sato’s helm, the last four Samohi men’s and women’s volleyball teams have advanced to the CIF playoffs. March 14 the Viking varsity opens league play against Hawthorne and the next two days the varsity will challenge powerhouses Palos Verdes and Beverly Hills.Meanwhile, the alumni will continue to bask in the afterglow of their hard earned pre-season victory while nursing sore muscles and joints.
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