CVHS Boys Lacrosse in Southern Section Final After Dominant Win Over University

The CVHS boys’ lacrosse team was all smiles after its CIF-SS victory over Downey. Photos by Justin HAGER

By Justin HAGER

Four years ago, 13 freshmen boys and two sophomores came together with Coach Nik Soforenko and founded CVHS’ first boys’ lacrosse team. None of the boys had ever played lacrosse before; most were not regular participants in any other sport. Learning the sport from scratch was especially difficult when practices had to be routinely rescheduled due to numerous members of the team having to juggle schedules and making time for both lacrosse and band practice.

By the time the team played its first official CIF season, in 2020, the lacrosse roster had grown to 33, but still had only six upper classmen. They didn’t get to finish that first season as COVID shuttered schools and athletic competitions alike.

Finally, last spring, boys’ lacrosse got to play a semi-normal season. Those founding members, now almost all juniors, took the field by storm, leading this newspaper to describe them as “a force to be reckoned with.” They were rewarded with a berth in the CIF-SS tournament where they were victorious in the first round, but fell in the second round to Riverside Polytechnic.

That brings us to today where some things have stayed the same while others are very different. Coach Soforenko and those 13 boys are all still around. But instead of being freshman, all 13 are now seniors, making their final bid to complete the legendary journey they began four years ago.

On Saturday, May 14, the boys (along with what is hoped is an army of CVHS students, parents, fans and community supporters) will travel to Downey High School for the CIF Southern Section Lacrosse Championship game, sponsored by Ford.

The road to the championship has had some ups and downs.

The boys opened tournament play against Downey 10 days ago on what was also Coach Soforenko’s 25th wedding anniversary. After lackluster first half play it looked like Soforenko and his wife (who is also the team’s scorekeeper) might have an unhappy anniversary and an early exit from the tournament. Fortunately, a string of rapid-fire goals by team co-captain Henry Kaufman gave the Falcons a comfortable 17-6 victory. That game also saw the first career goal by a future team leader, junior Anthony Gharapitian. After the game, Coach Soforenko described Gharapitian as one of the hardest working players he’d ever coached. He also asked that he be quoted when sharing, “I love my wife so much and am so grateful to have her in my life.”

Teammates celebrate as junior Anthony Gharapitian gets the game ball for scoring his first career goal.

Two days later, and with the pressure of the anniversary now in the past, the Falcons walked away with another nail-biting victory, defeating Orange Lutheran High School, 6-3.

Senior Henry Kaufman scored six goals and had two assists in the Falcons’ first round victory over Downey.

The Falcons finally seemed to get things running on all cylinders on Monday when they defeated a scrappy University High School team 15-7. Their timing couldn’t be any better. They’ll face a dominant Vista Murrieta team that has only lost four matches all season and was the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

The championship contest is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Downey High School, 11040 Brookshire Ave. in Downey. Tickets are required and may be purchased at: