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Year in Review: Valencia - Seasonal change

Posted: June 28, 2013 6:53 p.m.
Updated: June 28, 2013 6:53 p.m.

In his second season at quarterback, senior Sean Murphy enjoyed a renaissance, leading Valencia to a Foothill League title.

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Usually the Valencia High athletics story begins with what happens at the end of the school year.

In the spring, the Vikings are usually the kings.

Dynastic programs like softball, baseball and boys volleyball usually join with boys tennis to boost Valencia before the summer.

However, there was a shift in 2012-13.

One of the most dominant runs in state history came to an end on March 21 when the volleyball team’s 112-match winning streak came to an end.

Perennial powers baseball and softball were good, not their usual great this season.

That left boys tennis as the only team that continued its run of success.

The story for Valencia really begins in the winter.

Yes football, girls volleyball and girls tennis continued to roll in the fall.

But the winter is usually a quiet time for the Vikings — in other words, good, not great.

For the first time in school history, though, Valencia had three winter Foothill champions — boys and girls soccer and a co-championship for girls basketball.

It was the first-ever Foothill title for boys soccer.

On top of that, boys basketball was a surprise contender early on for the Foothill title.

It was a year that saw some playoff success, but more had strong individual performances.

Remember Sean Murphy coming from nowhere to the best football player in the valley?

Remember Olivia Pear being one of the valley’s best athletes from bell to bell?

Remember the freshman swim sensation Kevin Dai’s Foothill League final?

Remember any one of a number of Valencia boys tennis players all season?

Here’s your reminder.

Circling back to Murphy, who in 2011 was mediocre for the Vikings. In 2012, he was spectacular in passing for 3,936 yards and a school-record 38 touchdowns to 14 interceptions, and led the Vikings to their fourth straight Foothill League title and fourth trip to the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division semifinals in five seasons.

But the Vikings, who came into the season not as favorite to win the league title, lost their fourth semifinal in five years with a 50-33 loss to eventual champion Palos Verdes in the CIF-Southern Section Northern Division playoffs.

On Oct. 30, Valencia girls volleyball had to fight back to win a tight 3-2 match over West Ranch in the Foothill finale to win the league title outright.

In the match, Foothill and All-SCV player of the year Delaney Knudsen had a team-high 19 kills, including the match-winning point.

The Valencia girls tennis team continued to own the Foothill League, claiming its 10th championship in 11 years. However, the Vikings shared the Foothill title with Hart. In the second matchup between the teams, the Vikings won a clutch, close match 9-9 (71-69 games) over the Indians on Oct. 16.

Senior runner Olivia Pear began what was a tremendous year in the fall by nearly making the CIF Cross Country Championship race.

She finished 11th overall at the CIF-Southern Section Division I race, one spot from a slot in the state race in Fresno.

Pear came back in the spring to finish fifth in the CIF-SS Division I 800-meter race at CIF-Southern Section finals. She finished fifth at the CIF-SS Masters Meet, which qualified her for the state prelims in Fresno.

In the winter season, the soccer teams had incredible runs through the Foothill League — both going undefeated.

The boys team then won its first playoff game since 2006 and the girls team won their first outright title since 2001 and third overall, then made the CIF-SS Division II quarterfinals largely in part to the scoring knack of Foothill and All-SCV Player of the Year Taylor Venegas.

Valencia senior guard Kalia Summerlin saw a four-year varsity career end on top with her Vikings claiming a co-league title, thanks to a 40-38 win on Jan. 15 against the other top team Canyon.

In the spring, Valencia boys swim had a realistic shot of ending Hart’s 17-year Foothill League title streak, but eventually ended up in second place.

Yet the Vikings have a budding star in Dai.

The Valencia freshman set a league record with his championship swim in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:53.04 at league finals and won another title in the 100 backstroke. He was also part of a league-record setting 200-free relay team and scored 18 points at CIF-SS Division I championships by taking eighth in the 200 individual medley and 14th in the 100 back.

Unfortunately, the Valencia boys volleyball team’s state-record streak ended with a 3-1 loss to Saugus in the first Foothill match of the season.

The loss was Valencia’s first league setback since April 3, 2001, when the Vikings fell 3-2 to Canyon.

During that stretch, the Vikings won 12 league titles, four CIF titles and a national championship in 2008.

They wouldn’t even make the playoffs in 2013.

Baseball and softball did, however, but neither made an impression in the postseason.

However, Valencia pitcher Luke Soroko pitched a no-hitter against Hart on April 26.

Track and field’s Michael Kojin ran a thrilling 200-meter dash to become league champion on May 3, defeating West Ranch’s Chu Oguejiofor by two thousandths of a second.

Boys tennis appeared to be making a run, after sophomore Foothill single champion Chad LeDuff and Foothill doubles champions Sam Rebele and David Myers led an unchallenged team to a 10-0 mark in league. But the Vikings best playoff run in five years ended with a Division II quarterfinal loss to Beverly Hills.



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