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Massive, highly competitive girls volleyball tournaments like the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas are tremendous opportunities for teams to get in as many as three matches against elite opponents in one day.
For the Torrey Pines of San Diego team, which came to Vegas at No. 14 in the FAB 50 national rankings and No. 4 in the state, its three matches last Saturday in the championship bracket were wins over three other nationally ranked squads – Valley Christian of San Jose, Lakewood and finally Kamehameha of Hawaii.
Major events like Durango also make it a bit easier to compile rankings since with just a few exceptions just about every top team from California was there. That’s why it was easy to move up Torrey Pines to the No. 1 position in the state this week with other top finishers from the tourney going up as well.
In the championship match against Kamehameha, which also was unbeaten for the season, the Falcons had to scratch and claw for a 26-24, 23-25, 26-24 victory. Earlier in the day, they dropped their only other set of the weekend to Valley Christian but won 25-21, 21-25 and 25-22 to advance to the semifinals. In that match, coach Brennan Dean’s team topped Lakewood 26-24, 25-20.
The tourney MVP was senior Reily Buechler, who is headed to UCLA and is regarded as one of the top players in the nation. She is the daughter of former NBA and Poway High multi-sport star Jud Buechler.
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Defending CIF Division II state champ and last year’s No. 1 team for the state and nation, Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, dropped its only match at Durango to Kamehameha in the quarterfinals in a three-game match. The Monarchs then finished fifth by defeating La Salle of Pasadena 27-25, 25-21.
Yes, we know Mitty still has a loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco from early in the season but its strong showing in Las Vegas – which also included a win over previous state No. 3 Los Alamitos – is enough to pull up the team to No. 2 in this week’s rankings.
Previous state No. 1 Mater Dei of Santa Ana lost twice at Durango, but the Monarchs were not at full strength. One player who suffered an ankle injury and did not play was UCLA-bound senior outside hitter Frankie Shebby. Setter Payton Chang then rolled her ankle in a pool play match and was done for the rest of the weekend.
CalHiSports.com Top 20
State Girls Volleyball Rankings
(Previous ranking in parentheses; through reported results of Monday night, Sept. 23)
1. (4) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 10-0
2. (6) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 15-2
3. (2) Valley Christian (San Jose) 14-2
4. (3) Los Alamitos 15-4
5. (5) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 9-1
6. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 14-2
7. (7) Lakewood 14-4
8. (10) Dana Hills (Dana Point) 9-4
9. (NR) La Salle (Pasadena) 8-2
10. (13) Francis Parker (San Diego) 6-3
11. (11) Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 6-2
12. (12) Granite Bay 11-0
13. (NR) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 8-2
14. (14) Redwood (Larkspur) 14-0
15. (17) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 7-2
16. (NR) Marymount (Los Angeles) 7-3
17. (8) Redondo (Redondo Beach) 11-5
18. (18) St. Francis (Sacramento) 14-3
19. (16) Lutheran (Orange) 9-5
20. (20) Monte Vista (Danville) 13-2
Previous No. 9 Homestead (Cupertino); No. 15 Clovis West (Fresno); No. 19 Chaparral (Temecula).
For this week’s new San Francisco Bay Area Top 10, CLICK HERE.
Note: We welcome all input about teams not included and the order although we tend not to change it if teams don’t lose. For comments or questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.