It will be No. 1 Santa Margarita meeting No. 2 Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Division I championship. One of the teams moving up the most this week, however, is new No. 4 Ventura, which is in the CIFSS D2 finals. Others coming up include Long Beach Poly, Santa Fe Christian and Pitman of Turlock.
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(Through games of Tuesday, Nov. 8)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (1) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 30-4
Setting the stage for another showdown with Mater Dei of Santa Ana, the Eagles won all three of their CIFSS Division I playoff matches in straight sets as they defeated Corona del Mar of Newport Beach, Great Oak of Temecula and Long Beach Poly. Leading the way against the Jackrabbits was Meghan McClure, who had 18 kills while Sarah Ciszek added 13 kills. In their previous three matchups against the Monarchs, the Eagles were victorious by scores of 3-0, 2-1 and 3-1 and will look to make it a perfect 4 for 4 with the section title on the line.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 33-5
The Monarchs will get their rematch with Santa Margarita in the CIFSS Division I championship game on Saturday night after they defeated Los Alamitos and Lakewood in straight sets before defeating Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach 3-1 in the semifinals. Shannon Scully had a double-double with 16 kills and 13 digs against the Mustangs while a pair of underclassmen also were in double digits with kills as sophomore Natalie Berty had 15 kills and freshman Mia Tuaniga had 10 kills. Mater Dei’s only three losses this season to a team from California has been to the Eagles, but that can be partly erased on Saturday. The teams also could meet again in the CIF SoCal Open Division final.
3. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 33-4
With wins over Menlo School and Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco, the Monarchs advanced to face league rival St. Ignatius for the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title. That match basically will be for seeding in the first-ever CIF NorCal Open Division since both teams are pretty much a lock for being in it.
4. (8) Ventura 33-2
Awarded a first round bye, the Cougars lost just one set during their three wins last week to earn their spot in the CIFSS Division II championship game on Saturday afternoon against Beckman of Irvine. Dropping the second set against Arroyo Grande, they won eight straight after that, including two over the Eagles and then straight set wins over Esperanza of Anaheim and Marlborough of Los Angeles. Sammy Slater continues to be an offensive force as she had 22 kills against the Mustangs and has recorded over 20 kills in five of the last six matches.
5. (10) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 29-9
Before the Mustangs lost to No. 2 Mater Dei in the CIFSS D1 semifinals, they advanced past the quarterfinals for the first time since 2009 with a 25-19, 25-23, 25-27, 25-17 victory over Edison of Huntington Beach. Mira Costa, which also avenged an earlier loss to the Chargers, was led by Amanda Montag with 14 kills.
6. (5) Edison (Huntington Beach) 31-8
Despite the loss to Mira Costa in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals, the Chargers don’t drop far in the rankings. Hannah Phair also demonstrated why she’s one of the top players in the state with a match-high 26 kills.
7. (11) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 30-7
The Wildcats, who lost to Mitty in the West Catholic Athletic League final, will play the Monarchs again in the CCS Open Division title game and could even play them again for the NorCal Open Division crown. It’s hard to foresee any other team at this point being seeded any higher than either one at No. 1 and No. 2 in the NorCal bracket. St. Ignatius topped state No. 13 Notre Dame of Belmont in the CCS semis.
8. (7) Lakewood 30-5
We’re going to keep head coach Mike Wadley’s team ahead of Long Beach Poly since the Lancers beat the Jackrabbits twice in Moore League matches and their CIFSS playoff loss in the quarterfinals was to No. 2 Mater Dei. Before the loss, Lakewood advanced with a 3-1 win against Flintridge Sacred Heart.
9. (NR) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 23-9
The Jackrabbits caused the biggest changes in this week’s rankings with their back-to-back upsets in the CIFSS D1 playoffs over both previous No. 3 Marymount and previous No. 6 Huntington Beach. While Poly had some questionable losses earlier in the season, most of those were in shorter tournament matches.
10. (6) Huntington Beach 29-4
Although the Oilers had a head-to-head win over Lakewood early in the season, this is where they fall in the rankings after the tough five-set loss to Long Beach Poly (a team Lakewood beat twice). A lot of other top teams that the Oilers beat during the season also didn’t get that far in the playoffs so this ranking could be adjusted downward even more.
11. (3) Marymount (Los Angeles) 31-5
At the end of the day, the Sailors couldn’t win a CIFSS D1 playoff game so they drop eight spots. They had a bye in the first-round as the No. 3 seed and then were stunned by Long Beach Poly. We knew Marymount’s schedule could have been tougher, but we liked the fact that coming into the playoffs the only losses were to No. 1 Santa Margarita or highly ranked out-of-state foes.
12. (12) Sacred Heart Cathedral (SF) 27-8
It’ll be interesting to see if all four of the teams that also were in the CCS Open Division semifinals will be chosen for the NorCal Open Division as well. They’re all eligible to be picked and our guess is that they all will. The Irish topped St. Francis of Mountain View in the quarterfinals (or first round) and then lost to Archbishop Mitty.
13. (14) Notre Dame (Belmont) 32-10
The Tigers are no longer in the West Catholic Athletic League, but joined the three other WCAL teams in the CCS Open Division semifinals after they posted an avenging win against previous No. 13 Menlo-Atherton. Despite the 10 losses, some of the other wins also are strong enough to keep Notre Dame ranked.
14. (NR) Santa Fe Christian
(Solana Beach) 27-7
More than two months ago, the Eagles suffered their first loss on the season, in their second game of the season, to La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad and will now get a chance to avenge that loss when they will face the Mavericks in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship game on Saturday night. Santa Fe Christian moved on after wins over Cathedral Catholic of San Diego and top-seeded Torrey Pines of San Diego. Needing the full five sets to knock off the Falcons in the semifinals, the final point on the night came on a swing from Texas-bound senior Lexi Sun, who before this season played for the U.S. junior national team and led the team in kills.
15. (9) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 27-7
Based on what the Falcons did last year and before and with two earlier wins over La Costa Canyon, we think they could still be in the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs despite the upset loss to Santa Fe Christian. This is because there is a limit of just four that can go up from the Southern Section and the CIF could take the SD Open winner plus the runner-up and even Torrey Pines as a third. We’d think all three also would be better choices than any teams from the L.A. City Section or Central Section.
16. (16) Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 26-5
The Falcons rolled on toward the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title with victories against El Capitan of Merced and Buhach Colony of Atwater. They will play Sonora in the championship. Due to the CCS only having a limit of four teams that can be taken into the NorCal Open Division playoffs, we know CBS is eligible to be picked for it and probably will (along with Pitman of Turlock if it wins SJS D1 title), especially when you look at the teams from the North Coast Section.
17. (18) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 23-9
Doing their part in making the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship game a No. 3 vs. No. 4 seed matchup, the No. 3 seeded Mavericks defeated the sixth seeded Canyon Crest Academy of San Diego and the the seventh seeded Bishop’s of La Jolla, who had knocked off the No. 2 seed Ramona, both by scores of 3-2. During their semifinal win, they had three players in double digits with kills as Bronte Zlomek had a team-high 13 kills to go along with 13 digs while Sophia Theriot had a team-high 16 digs. In the championship game, they will face a Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach team that they defeated 3-1 in their very first match this season.
18. (NR) Pitman (Turlock) 27-7
We didn’t catch it in time for last week’s rankings that the Pride had avenged an earlier loss to Turlock in Central California Conference play. On Tuesday night, however, we did see that the girls had topped previous No. 17 Oak Ridge in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 semifinals. Pitman, which does count a close loss to Mitty on its resume, will now play Turlock again in the championship match. The Pride also will be going for their third straight section title.
19. (13) Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 25-5
The Bears lost in their CCS Open Division first-round matchup to Notre Dame of Belmont. It doesn’t look like they’ll be in the NorCal Open Division bracket, however, so watch out for them in the NorCal D1 playoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how all of the CCS Open teams (plus others like San Jose Valley Christian) that aren’t in the NorCal Open Division fare in NorCal divisional brackets.
20. (NR) Liberty (Bakersfield) 24-7
For this final spot in the rankings, we strived to place a team that is still going and have chosen the Patriots. They will be playing Clovis West of Fresno in the CIF Central Section D1 final. Liberty notched wins against Clovis East and Clovis to get there.
Previous No. 15 Temecula Valley (Temecula); No. 17 Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills); No. 19 Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego); No. 20 Ramona.
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
(Some results of bubble teams that played on Tuesday of this week not reported)
Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 24-9
Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego) 18-10
Clovis West (Fresno) 34-9
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 18-11
Eastlake (Chula Vista) 21-8
El Dorado (Placentia) 25-7
Flintridge Sacred Heart (La Canada) 23-10
Foothill (Pleasanton) 32-6
James Logan (Union City) 36-3
Los Alamitos 19-17
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 25-6
Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 34-8
Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 24-14
San Benito (Hollister) 31-6
San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 24-3
Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 27-3
St. Francis (Mountain View) 21-14
South (Torrance) 22-9
Temecula Valley (Temecula) 25-5
Valley Christian (San Jose) 19-13
Stockton office assistant editor Paul Muyskens and SportStars Magazine editor Chace Bryson contributed to these rankings. Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of CalHiSports.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports