By Jason Greenwald
For The Signal
When the West Ranch boys volleyball team beat Valencia on Wednesday, it completed its fourth straight undefeated season in the Foothill League. The Wildcats pushed their undefeated record in league to 41 games, dating back to the 2014-2015 season.
“With that game, I’d say that this was the sweetest undefeated season I’ve been a part of,” said junior Johnny Buchanan.
The Wildcats’ undefeated Foothill League title stretch started in the 2014-2015 season with a win over Golden Valley. In 2015-2016 the team went 10-0 in league under head coach Nathan Sparks. Their overall record that year was 30-7 and ranked 29th nationally.
They repeated in the 2016-2017 season, going 22-10 and won league with a 10-0 record under Sparks. They were ranked 57th in the nation.
Head coach Brandon Johnson took over the team ahead of the 2017-2018 season and continued to dominate the Foothill League. In his first year at West Ranch, Johnson went 26-6 and won the Foothill League title with a 10-0 record. Their national ranking was 53rd.
This season wasn’t any different for Johnson and the Wildcats, who went 24-7 overall and 10-0 in the Foothill League after their exciting match against Valencia on Wednesday night. Their current national rank this season is 51st.
“The thing for me is that this is only my second season, my five seniors (Colin Murphree, Tristin Clint, Daniel Bisla, Max Lin and Brett Borden) have been around the program for four years,” Johnson said. “These boys, this team earned it. This team didn’t go 40-0, this team went 10-0 in the Foothill League when we lost ten seniors last year.
“We lost basically, of our seven starters, five and a half starters and I think most people probably wrote us off and didn’t think we would continue to keep on winning. These boys put in the work and fought to earn it, so I’m unbelievably proud of them.”
West Ranch likely have a high seeding in the playoffs when the CIF-Southern Section brackets are announced on Friday at 11 a.m. The team hopes to make a deeper run in the playoffs this season after losing 3-0 in the first round last year to the Beckman Patriots.