The Santa Monica High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team won the California Interscholastic Federation’s (CIF) Southern Section Division IV championship with a 2-0 victory over Jurupa Valley High School of Mira Loma last Saturday. The game was played on a neutral field in Downey. Samohi has been fielding boys soccer teams for over three decades, and this is the school’s first ever CIF Boys Soccer Championship, won under Head Coach Jimmy Chapman. It is the first Samohi championship in any varsity sport since the men’s volleyball team captured the CIF Southern Section Division IV crown in 2006.
Incredibly, Coach Chapman’s team played an undefeated season (26-0-1) in their run to the championship. “We are probably the only undefeated boys soccer team in the state,” noted Samohi Athletic Director Norm Lacy, following the win over Jurupa Valley.
“It was a good team win,” according to Soccer Director Frank Gatell. Gatell cites the Vikings’ doomsday defense as core to the team’s success: “We outscored our opponents 18-0 in the playoffs through our final game against Jurupa Valley.”
The anchors of the defense include keeper Alex Kovacs who blocked six shots, including two huge saves, against Jurupa Valley. Ahead of the keeper, marking backs Chris De La Rosa and Tyler Horton and sweeper Nick Ferro played stellar defense. Viking senior Allesandro Canale scored Samohi’s two goals in the CIF Section Final on assists by Artur Jozkowicz. It was all the team needed to write a new chapter in Viking sports history.
In all previous years, the CIF Southern Section Final in Downey March 1 would have been the last game for the Viking squad. This year, for the first time ever, the CIF has instituted a “region playoff” in which Section Champions and first runners-up meet in single elimination playoffs. In Tuesday’s first round played at Santa Monica College, the Samohi Vikings defeated Newberry Park, 2-1, in a feisty, closely fought match. Santa Monica then plays in the CIF South Region semifinals at SMC at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, against either Clovis West or Banning. The winner of that match, not available at press time, advances to the finals at Warren High School Stadium in Downey at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 8.