Continuing a stellar streak, for the fourth year in a row Santa Monica High School’s boys volleyball earned a berth in the CIF playoffs. In first round action the Vikings breezed past an overmatched Palmdale High School three games to zip last Friday. On Tuesday, the Vikings defeated Santa Fe High School also three games to zip to move on to third round of the playoffs. Both matches were at Samohi’s North Gym.
“It was a great first two rounds of competition,” notes Head Coach Liane Sato, a former Olympian on the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team. “Alex McRitchie and Julian Hess have done a great job up the middle and the whole team was unstoppable offensively.”
The playoffs bar has been set very high for this year’s squad which won the Ocean League with a perfect 8-0 record. Each of the last three years the Vikings have worked their way deep into the single elimination playoffs. In 2005 they reached the semi-finals, in 2006 they won the CIF Division III Southern Section Championship and last year they reached the finals and finished a respectable second.
In addition to McRitchie and Hess, starters include True Shields, Matt Silver, and Gregg Wilson. Senior Nick Franks and freshman David Cline share setting duties. Tres Bogda, Aaron Eslamboly, Harrison Hogin, Zach Finny, Michael Black, Stephen Stewart and Charlie Silverman complete the varsity roster. Coaches assisting Head Coach Liane Sato include Nguyen Trinh, Glen Sato and Pete Barraza.
With 11 of 15 varsity players eligible to return, 2009 promises to be another strong year of the Viking volleyballers. The future is bright as well for the four graduating seniors – student/athletes who never missed a CIF playoff. Greg Wilson is off to Princeton, recruited to play Ivy League volleyball. Nick Franks will attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, True Shields will attend Cal and Alex MeRitchie is off to Perdue.