La Jolla High School’s Viking teams in a handful of sports showed their strengths during playoffs this month — one taking home the title and one losing it in the end. Here’s a wrap up of how they did.
Boys Lacrosse CIF TITLE
In last week’s La Jolla Light sports coverage, La Jolla High School boys lacrosse coach Kyle Smedley said his team was not used to losing, and he wasn’t kidding. The Vikings defeated Carlsbad 12-3 during the semifinals and proceeded to the finals May 19 against Scripps Ranch, where they found equal success.
The team clinched the CIF title when they defeated Scripps Ranch 10-8.
“We’ve been trying to set that winning culture for a while,” Smedley said, and his team won titles the last two years.
But in the bout against Scripps Ranch, the first half cast a shadow of a doubt.
“It was a tough first half, we played the way we usually do in the first quarter but we let them in and they took the lead. It 5-2 (Scripps Ranch) at the half. Rarely have we had that experience,” Smedley said. “We had a couple talks, made some adjustments, and refocused on what we were doing. We stayed on the path we have been on all season and fine-tuned everything and reminded the guys what their roles are. Everyone has a job on the team and focused on making sure everyone does their job. We knew we could chip away (at the lead).”
He added, “I think we scored eight goals in eight minutes.”
Acknowledging the victory was a “total team effort,” he said particular players deserving a kudos include the three Walsh brothers: Finn, Cavan and Tynan; goalie Logan Watson; and offense and defense player Max Princen. Team captains to recognize include Ryan Blackburn, Nate Ryan, Finn and Cavan Walsh.
Looking to the future, he said: “Every team is different and every season is different, but we will take what we learned this year and adjust it for the next group of kids. You figure out the identity of the team and build around it. These guys are used to winning, so we will have to set realistic expectations next year. We’ve been fortunate to win three in a row, but not every season guarantee a championship. A championships is a byproduct of what we do and we have got to, above all, keep our team mindset.”
The Vikings boys volleyball team plays in a double-elimination format and needs to lose twice to be knocked out. And good thing. The team lost to Sage Creek 3-1 in the fourth round, May 15, therefore necessitating the “if necessary” game on May 17. In their rematch against Sage Creek, they were victorious 3-1. The Championships were May 19 at St. Augustine High School, where they narrowly lost 3-2.
However, because of their statewide seed, they still proceed to the CIF SoCal Boys Volleyball championships. The first bout was May 22 in Newport Beach. Should they win, matches continue May 24 and May 26.
Coach David Jones said of the last-minute CIF loss, “We played well, but to win we need to focus on the serve. We missed too many serves and weren’t aggressive enough at times.”
Further, he said in the Open Division (the Division in which La Jolla’s boys volleyball plays), there is a fairly even level of play, and the team wasn’t “pushed as hard” during the season.
“Our league wasn’t as tough as it is usually is so we weren’t pushed as hard … this year, any given team could beat any other team on any given day. We haven’t lost since March 17 this season. We weren’t used to struggling and needing to fight, it was a wake-up call,” Jones said.
That likely wont be a problem at the SoCal championships. “We’re playing the No. 1 team in the nation (Newport Harbor), we are seeded No. 8 in the nation. We’ve played them before and lost, so we have to play to win and not hold back at this level. It’s asking a lot of the team, but it can happen. The good news is all these teams are ones we have competed with and can prove we can beat them in the right situations. We are not automatically at a disadvantage. That said, if we don’t play at the top of our game, we could be taken care of in three or win in five,” he said. (Volleyball matches are won in a best-of-five format).
He concluded: “It’s crunch time.”
Swim and Dive
According to school officials, swimmers as part of the schools Diving and Swim teams did well during CIF rounds in early May.
“Congratulations to freshman Makenna Sammons for winning the Division II CIF Diving Championship. Jordan Schultz finished second in the boys Division II Championship and freshman Jordan Mariani finished third. Also, congratulations to our girls relay team: Thais Luiz, Jessica Newell, Shauna Franke and Isabelle Brazell for qualifying to the state swim meet,” writes La Jolla High School Athletic Director Paula Conway.
Swing and a Miss
La Jolla’s baseball and softball teams each lost in their respective play-off games. The boys baseball team lost to Point Loma 3-1 May 16 in the Eastern League and the girls softball team lost to La Jolla Country Day 6-5 in the CIF play-in game on May 15.
Although not connected to La Jolla High School, the La Jolla Lacrosse Club youth team — consisting of fifth- and sixth-graders — went undefeated this season and are Division III champions! The team defeated their equivalent team from Carmel Valley at Poway High School on May 12.