By Justin HAGER
The players and coaches on the CVHS girls’ lacrosse team have earned the title of Pacific League champions. With a 14-5 overall record and an undefeated record in League play, the girls are now ranked in the top 200 in the United States and No. 27 in California, according to MaxPreps. And the latest CIF-SS coaches poll put them just outside the top 10 in Division 1/2 receiving the 12th highest number of votes and earning them an almost certain opportunity to play in the CIF-SS playoffs.
The girls have played the entire season as a cohesive and team-oriented squad, which led them to victories over higher ranked opponents including Mira Costa, the No. 4-ranked team in California and the 26th best in the United States. Their cohesiveness and ability to play at a high level across the roster also led them to victories in multi-day tournaments like the Gold Coast Invitational, which they won despite having several standout players unavailable due to injuries and prior commitments.
But their team motto of TOGETHER did not prevent several individual players from also having outstanding seasons. Early in the season a play known simply as “The Catch” saw Brianne Ballard feed younger sister Camden Ballard the ball for a thrilling overtime goal that this reporter is honored to say he saw in person. Brianne Ballard has gone on to have an outstanding season and is in the top-25 players in the United States in assists. Meanwhile, teammate Haylen Molina, an Under Armour All-American, was recently selected to the Under Armour 2023 Top Players in the United States Watchlist.
On the boys’ side of the lacrosse stick, the Falcons also played big and had an outstanding season and a particularly strong finish to the season. The Falcon boys were 15-2 overall, have the best overall record in their League, are ranked No. 4 in CIF-SS Division 3 according to the CIF coaches poll, and No. 2 in the Division according to MaxPreps. They’re also ranked in the top 75 in the State of California. The past 10 days have included a 14-5 Senior Day win over Calabasas’ Viewpoint High School, a 19-3 victory over Royal and an 18-1 win over local rival the Village Christian Crusaders from Sun Valley.
The Senior Day victory was particularly powerful as this year’s group of 13 graduating seniors were the founding inaugural members of the Falcon boys’ lacrosse team four years ago. Coach Nik Soforenko has been with them throughout that time, leading a group of ninth graders who had never played lacrosse before to their senior year where they are legitimate contenders for not only a CIF-SS playoff birth, but also have the opportunity to make a deep playoff run.
Capping the Senior Day festivities was the individual accomplishment of senior goalie Hayden Lunt, who earned his 500th CIF save during the game.
Both squads now await the release of CIF-SS selections and schedules.