The Santa Monica High School men’s volleyball team has won each of its first three single elimination playoff rounds and will play Downey High School on the road this week in the semi-finals of the CIF Southern Division championships.
The team, which captured the Ocean League championship undefeated, sailed to convincing playoff wins over Oxnard’s Vista High School (3 games to 0), Anaheim’s Magnolia High School (3 games to 1) and most recently, a third round victory over Pomona’s Garey High School (3 games to 0) at Samohi’s North Gym last Friday.
The Vikings, under the direction of Coach Liane Sato, have now equaled their playoff run of last year when they made it to the Final Four. Leading this year’s charge are several seniors with extensive ’05 playoff experience including setter Fred McLafferty, left handed outside hitter Michael Campbell, three year varsity starter Neil Cline and back row passing specialist Bronson Oliviera. Starters also include seniors Ari Feldman and Alex Bon. Bon, a gifted athlete, joined the volleyball squad this year for the first time and also starts for the Viking men’s golf team. Sophomore True Shields completes the starting squad.
The Vikings are now within two matches of the CIF Southern Section Championship. With many perennial powerhouse teams such as Mira Costa, Loyola and Palos Verdes, the CIF Southern Section is considered by many to be among the most competitive men’s volleyball leagues in the entire nation. The Vikings men’s volleyball team last took the CIF Southern Section Championship in 1979.