Of all the great dynasties in high school sports, few can compete with the unassuming yet utterly dominant Valencia (Calif.) High boys volleyball team. Now California high school sports aficionados can officially refer to Valencia as the most consistent league team ever, after the Vikings won their state-record 97th consecutive Foothills League match on Tuesday.
Believe it or not, that incredible string of victories stretches back a full decade, with the last Valencia Foothills League setback coming in 2001. Since then, the Santa Clarita Valley school has rattled off nothing but wins, be they straight-set routs or five-set grinders.
"I hope it's not the end," Valencia head coach Mark Knudsen told The Santa Clarita Valley Signal. "It's a great opportunity to get everybody together. It's a great opportunity for the alumni to come back and celebrate everything they've accomplished, and now is the time to do it. You don't celebrate it when the streak ends."
To put Valencia's winning streak in perspective, consider this: Knudsen has been at the helm of the program for nine years … and has yet to lose a single league match. According to the Signal, under Knudsen's guidance, Valencia has won eight-straight league titles (the program won its first crown under former coach Kevin Kornegay), an impressive four CIF Southern Section titles and one mythical national crown, as handed out by StudentSportsVolleyball.com.
Now, thanks to a 25-17, 25-14, 21-25, 25-20 victory over Saugus (Calif.) High, Valencia can claim to have the longest league winning steak in state history, too. Yet, accolades aside, Valencia's current players said that they knew there was a hard road ahead.
"It's just another game that we won," Valencia setter Shane Nazarian told The Signal. "We want to be the seniors that go undefeated all the way through league. That will be a relief, winning that last (league) match."