The Santa Monica High School girls beach volleyball team appears to be peaking at the right time.

After a promising regular season, the Vikings kicked off their postseason with an upset of Huntington Beach-Edison in the first round of the Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League playoffs May 9.

Their victory vaulted them into the round of 16 at 4 p.m. Thursday at Annenberg Community Beach House, where they’ll face Goleta-Dos Pueblos.

“I don’t think anybody would’ve been looking for us to win,” Samohi coach Kurt Schwengel said of the upset. “We don’t know a lot about Dos Pueblos, but I would imagine they’ve taken notice.”

The recent success of the girls’ beach team is part of a volleyball renaissance at the local high school. The boys indoor team faced Los Angeles-Cathedral in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals Wednesday, the boys beach team won the Ocean League title this past season and the girls indoor team was the section runner-up in Division 3AA in the fall.

“It’s pretty cool that we’re a volleyball school again,” said Schwengel, a Samohi alumnus.

In the win over Edison last week, Maria Di Franco and Serena Mechlowicz created a cushion for the Vikings in the best-of-three doubles competition with a 2-0 decision on the No. 1 court.

“The other [Samohi] teams immediately see that, and it gives them a breath of confidence,” Schwengel said.

Krista Blide and Sophie Major clinched the squad’s second-round bid with a victory on the No. 2 court.

“It was the culmination of a long year of practice where everything clicked that day,” Schwengel said.

The winner of Thursday’s game will face Palisades in the quarterfinals May 21 at the Ocean Park courts.


Thanks to strong campaigns this spring, three local softball teams have advanced to the CIF Southern Section championships

Santa Monica will face Ventura-Buena on the road in the first round of the Division 4 bracket Thursday at 3:15 p.m. The Vikings (12-8) are coming off a second-place finish in conference play in their first season under coaches Kaile Nakao and Leigh Campbell.

St. Monica Catholic will host Los Angeles-Notre Dame Academy in the Division 5 first round Thursday. The Mariners (16-5) finished in a three-way tie for first place in the Camino Real League.

Crossroads will face Downey-Calvary Chapel on the road in the Division 6 first round Thursday. The Roadrunners (5-10) enter the postseason on the heels of a 10-9 win over North Hollywood-Campbell Hall in their Gold Coast League finale.


New Roads is carrying the postseason torch for local baseball teams this spring.

The Jaguars are slated to face Lawndale-Environmental Charter  in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 7 playoffs at 3:15 p.m. Friday at Clover Park.

Led by coach Matt Steinhaus, New Roads (11-5) was the runner-up in the Coastal League standings this season.