Throughout this season, Valencia volleyball shuffled its lineup, brought up a player from JV and learned to play as a team that has a mix of under- and upperclassmen.
Despite the adjustments, the Vikings never lost sight of the yearly goal to win the Foothill League. On Tuesday night, they managed to capture a share of it after a senior night sweep of Golden Valley at home.
“To actually finish this game and know that we’ve won and all of our hard work has paid off and we’ve reached our goal is really accomplishing,” said senior Lauryn Shockley. “And knowing that we did it together as a team is just even better.”
Valencia (23-10 overall, 9-1 in Foothill League) is co-league champions with Hart, who swept Saugus on the same night.
The Grizzlies (9-18-1, 1-9) stood their ground in the first game, obtaining a lead four times before the Vikes pulled away on a Jess Throckmorton kill.
An ace from Lauryn Shockley ended the game at 25-17. Shockley had three aces on the night. Georgia Sherman led the team with six aces.
The Vikings coasted to a 25-9 win in Game 2, starting off the scoring on another ace.
“Any time we can get a tough serve, it’s going to make it easier to score points,” said Valencia coach Ray Sanchez, “and if you can get easy points and not have to do a lot of work, that’s always to your advantage.”
Senior Lo Russ scored two points – one on a confident kill and one on a delicate tip – to cap the game. Russ totaled eight kills and 12 digs in the match.
The final game was a near-identical result, with the Vikings coming out on top 25-8.
Shockley led the Vikings with 12 kills. Throckmorton and Aly Grodell each added seven kills and Kaelyn White had 27 assists.
“Everyone played really well together,” Grodell said. “We all had really good teammates, we all play really well together and I think that helps a lot. And we had good passes and good sets and good hits everywhere. We just played really well all around.”
The Vikings, who were ranked fifth in Division 2 in this week’s CIF-Southern Section polls, have won at least a share of the league title since 2012. Now that they’ve accomplished that goal, a long run in the playoffs is on the agenda.
Playoff brackets will be released on Thursday afternoon.