Late November marked a significant chapter in the history of Samohi athletics when, for the first time in memory, the Vikings had no fewer than three teams in CIF post season play at the same time. The varsity football team had a strong regular season and made the playoffs only to be eliminated in the first round. The boys water polo team battled their way to the quarterfinals before losing in their home pool at SMC.
Girls volleyball went farthest of the three, reaching the CIF finals only to fall one match short of the CIF ‘08 championship. The girls’ run to the championship match was not without adversity. In the quarterfinals senior Jeana Schkud, starting varsity setter and playmaker for four years, suffered a season-ending knee injury. Junior Jordie Cohen came off the bench and did a credible job filling in at setter.
On paper, the Vikings looked to be underdogs going into the finals against Mayfield High School of Pasadena, a private girls school with players from throughout the region. Although the Vikings battled furiously and had many of their signature great moments, Mayfield dominated from early on to win the match in three games straight. From the section championship the Vikings then went on to CIF’s annual state invitational tournament, where they lost in the first round in an away game at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego on the rainy Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
Reaching the CIF finals in any sport is no easy feat and this season was the first time in 27 years that Samohi girls volleyball earned a shot at the championship.
Samohi’s Principal, Dr. Hugo Pedroza, attended the championship match at Cypress College and observed: “Our team worked very hard to get to the CIF finals and they are to be commended for their efforts. They did an incredible job.”
“I am very proud of our team,” noted Head Coach Liane Sato after the CIF finals match.
Viking Athletic Director Norm Lacy added: “There are eight seniors on the team. Four year ago they started developing their skills and they have worked incredibly hard. They pursued their dream of a CIF championship all the way to the final match. They embody the Viking philosophy – be the best you can.”
Liane Sato, a former national team member who represented the USA at the ‘88 and ‘92 Olympics, is Head Coach and Nguyen Trinh is Assistant Coach. Including boys volleyball, the Vikings have now made it to the CIF finals three years in a row. In 2006 the boys won the Southern Section championship and they were also runners-up in 2007.
After a three decade hiatus, the volleyball program at Samohi has returned to its former glory days in the 70’s when the school dominated CIF Southern Section competition.