SAMOHI — The Vikings’ tear through the playoffs continues.
Santa Monica High School’s boys’ volleyball team defeated Windward, 3-1, on Tuesday at home to advance to the final of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 playoffs.
Once the game, which was closer than the final score would indicate, came to a close, the Vikings stormed the court in front of a packed gym, high-fiving and giving hugs all around.
It was official, the Vikings are returning to the final for the first time since 2007. If successful, it would be the school’s first title since 2006.
“It’s going to be fantastic,” Head Coach Liane Sato said amid the celebration. “We just have to keep working like we’ve been doing.”
If Tuesday’s performance was any indicator, the Vikings just may make good in the final.
“[Samohi] is a very athletic bunch,” Windward head coach Michelle McGuire said. “They’re tough to beat.”
The Vikings opened the match with a 25-20 win in game one, but Windward was far from intimidated. They would rally to take the second game, tying the match at 1-1, setting up a nip-and-tuck third game that could have gone either way.
Windward raced out to a 4-1 lead in the game, looking every bit like a team capable of winning a road game in a hostile environment. But, Samohi responded quickly. They would rally behind a pair of kills by David Cline to tie the game at 5, but the seesaw battle was just beginning.
Windward was able to stay close, but Samohi, on the strength of kills by Jack Cramer and Julian Hess, was able to close out the game, 25-20.
“It was a real battle,” Hess said. “It was fun.”
The fourth game was similarly close, but again, Samohi was just too much down the stretch and won 25-20. Charles Levy came up big in the waning moments of the match with a pair of huge kills that appeared to break Windward’s back.
“We had some ups and downs,” Levy said. “But we came up clutch to finish the match.”
The win sets up a meeting with San Gabriel in the final on Saturday at Cypress College. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m.
“We have to focus on not making stupid mistakes,” Hess said of Saturday. “We can win if we just play our game.”