The Santa Monica High School men’s volleyball team sailed to an easy first round playoffs win at home over Oxnard’s Rio Vista High School last Friday. The Vikings swept Rio Vista three games to none (25-12, 25-11 and 25-11) to advance to the second round of the CIF Southern Section 2006 championship series.
Viking seniors dominated play including setter Fred McLafferty, hitters Michael Campbell, Neil Cline, Alex Bon, Ari Feldman and back row passing specialist Bronson Oliviera. Sophomore True Shields joined the otherwise all senior squad with major action against Rio Vista.
Coached by former U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team Olympian Liane Sato, Santa Monica’s 2006 team is arguably the strongest that the school has fielded in about a decade. The Vikings were undefeated this season in Bay League play and they captured the school’s first league championship since 1998.
The current Viking run recalls the school’s past domination of CIF volleyball. Over the 34 years 1964-1998, Santa Monica won 28 men’s league championships. Three Viking teams (’73, ’74, and ’79) went all the way to win the CIF Southern Section championship, considered by many to be the most competitive high school volleyball championship in the nation.