For the first time since 2018, both the varsity soccer and girls varsity volleyball teams qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. For soccer, the playoffs take place from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30. For volleyball, they start Oct. 28 and end Nov. 6.
Soccer finished its season with a 15-1 record (8-0 in league). With the undefeated league record, varsity soccer won the Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League for the first time since 2015. The soccer team won every league game for the third time in school history, and first time since 2011.
Volleyball, 14-5 (9-3 in league), placed second in the Sacramento Metropolitan League behind Western Sierra.
Soccer coach Matt Vargo said the team’s success has been a continuation of their spring season, where the Cavs went 8-1.
“Everyone got bigger, faster and stronger,” he said. “And we’ve added some players.”
Soccer has its first playoff game on Oct. 28. Because the Cavs are the No. 1 seed, they had a bye during the quarterfinals on Oct. 26. They will play in the semifinals against fifth-seeded Delta (10-4-1, 8-1-1 in league) on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. at the Mather Sports Complex. Delta won their quarterfinal game against fourth-seeded Western Sierra 6-3.
To beat Delta, Vargo said the Cavs will need to lock down their strong forward, dominate the midfield, get behind Delta’s defense and finish their shots.
The Cavs defeated Delta 4-0 in the preseason, but Vargo said the team is more organized than they were early in the season.
If the Cavs win, they will play in the Section Championship against the No. 2 seed, Cristo Rey, or No. 3 seed, Futures, on Saturday, Oct. 30.
Vargo said he hopes to see the team play in and possibly win the section final.
“But I don’t want to overlook Delta because they can definitely beat us. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Let’s take care of business on Thursday, see who wins on the other side, and then plan for them and go from there,” he said.
For senior forward and co-captain Arjin Claire, who leads the state with 32 goals scored, winning the Section Championship is a major and obvious objective, but it’s not the only one.
“Playing well as a team and showcasing how far we’ve come as a team from where we started is the main goal,” he said.
As the top seed, Claire said it’s a great feeling to be the team to beat.
“We have something to defend,” he said. “We’re not just pushing for the title, we’re also defending our name.”
Although being the team to beat adds pressure, Claire said he’s confident the team can rise to the challenge.
The No. 2 seed girls’ volleyball will play in the quarterfinals on Oct. 28 against No. 7 seed Stockton Christian (13-3, 11-3 in league) at Country Day at 6 p.m.
Coach Jason Kreps said the team has come together well this season, with important contributions from multiple players who have club experience. The leadership and communication of the more experienced players has helped everyone on the team.
“This team is also addicted to playing the game,” he said. “They want more practice. They want longer practice. And that’s a good problem to have.”
For a young team, Kreps is impressed they advanced to the playoffs and were placed as the No. 2 seed.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” he said.
Kreps said the team will need to play up to the level they’re capable of and minimize errors to defeat Stockton Christian.
“I anticipate them to be a good team. But I anticipate us being a good team as well. And if we play well, we should be just fine,” he said.
Senior outside hitter and team captain Vanessa Escobar said the team has had great communication in recent practices.
“Lately, we haven’t been letting balls drop between two people because we’ve been trusting each other. I hope we can continue to do that tomorrow,” she said.
As a senior, Escobar will be playing in her last few games as a Cavalier.
“Honestly, it’s really sad since I don’t think I’m gonna play in college,” she said. “But I’m glad I got to make a lot of new friends this year because I don’t think I would’ve talked to half the people on the team if not for volleyball, especially the underclassmen.”
If the team wins, they will play the winner of third-seeded Forest Lake and sixth-seeded Alpha Charter in the semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at Country Day.