There are no major changes after the various section finals as No. 1 Santa Margarita edges No. 2 Mater Dei and No. 3 Archbishop Mitty wins 22nd section crown. The only pause in regards to the various regional seedings is 34-2 Ventura only being at No. 4 in SoCal Division I. The Cougars have a head-to-head win over Mitty and present the scenario of what could happen in the final rankings if they win the D1 state title and Mitty wins the Open.
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(Through games of Tuesday, Nov. 14)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
*Indicates season complete.
1. (1) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 31-4
With the CIF Southern Section title so valued by teams in the south, the fact that the Eagles could still be looking at a Mater Dei team eventually beating them and winning the CIF Open Division state title did not seem to cross their minds after a five-set win over the Monarchs last Saturday in the CIFSS Division I championship. So how close was the match? The fourth set was won by Mater Dei 28-26 to force a fifth set and in that set it went to 14-14 before Santa Margarita finally won 16-14. It was the first CIFSS title for the Eagles since 2008 and their fourth win by the Eagles over Mater Dei this season against no losses. Still, the possible fifth match is the one that will really count because that one likely advances the winner to the first-ever CIF Open Division state final. Santa Margarita opens the CIF SoCal Open Division bracket at home on Thursday vs. CIF Central Section D1 champ Liberty of Bakersfield.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 33-6
Since Mater Dei has a head-to-head win over Mitty, there was obviously no change for the team’s state ranking following the five-set loss to Santa Margarita in the CIFSS D1 final. Shannon Scully led the way for head coach Dan O’Dell’s team with 17 kills. The Monarchs also as expected received the No. 2 seed behind Santa Margarita in the first-ever CIF Open Division Southern California playoffs. Their first match is Thursday at home vs. La Costa Canyon, the runner-up from the San Diego Section Open Division.
3. (3) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 34-4
Kamrin Caoili hammered down 15 kills to lead the Monarchs past St. Ignatius of San Francisco in straight sets to win the first-ever CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title. It was Mitty’s third win over the Wildcats this season and gave them a 22nd section title. Head coach Bret Almazan-Cesar’s team also was given the top seed in the first-ever CIF NorCal Open Division playoffs and plays next on Thursday against Christian Brothers of Sacramento, a team we saw the Monarchs play and defeat in the semifinals of the Stockton Classic.
4. (4) Ventura 34-2
Here’s where things get a little more interesting. After the Cougars won the CIFSS Division II title, which also is the first-ever section title in girls volleyball the school as ever won, they were seeded behind three other teams from the CIFSS D1 bracket in the CIF SoCal Division I playoffs. That probably was pre-determined, but Ventura has earned a higher state ranking by winning the Santa Barbara TOC title and has a head-to-head win over No. 3 Mitty. What if the Cougars win the D1 state title and Mitty wins the Open Division state title? Aubrey Knight had 11 kills and six blocks in the team’s win over Beckman of Irvine in the section final. She also has been on two CIFSS title teams at Ventura in basketball.
5. (5) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 29-9
It will be a tough road for the Mustangs in Thursday’s first-round of the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs as they will have to play at Torrey Pines of San Diego. The CIF seeded Torrey Pines higher despite that team not getting to the San Diego Open Division finals, but we still have Costa higher due to making it to the CIFSS D1 semifinals. Neither team played last week.
6. (6) Edison (Huntington Beach) 31-8
The Chargers are the No. 2 seed in the CIF SoCal D1 bracket behind league rival Huntington Beach. That doesn’t match our state rankings, but we have reasons for having it that way and will stick with it until results prove otherwise. Edison faces Granada Hills in its first SoCal match on Wednesday as a big favorite.
7. (9) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 23-9
Consider this move up a delayed reaction to the Jackrabbits getting to the CIFSS D1 semifinals. By doing that, they also earned a spot in the first-ever CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs. They are used to winning on the road and will have to do that Thursday at Santa Fe Christian, which won the San Diego Open Division title.
8. (7) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 30-8
After falling 25-13 in the opening game of the CCS Open Division final to Mitty, the Wildcats did play better in the second and third sets before losing both 25-22 and 25-21. They still grabbed the No. 2 seed in the CIF NorCal Open Division playoffs and will begin their quest for a possible fourth match against Mitty when they play three-time Sac-Joaquin Section D1 champ Pitman of Turlock on Thursday. That could be an upset special so the Wildcats have to play their best.
9. (8) Lakewood 30-5
Yes, we know the Lancers have two wins over Poly, but for this week anyway since the Jackrabbits are in the SoCal Open Division and Lakewood isn’t we’ll rank the Jackrabbits higher. Lakewood is the No. 3 seed in the CIF SoCal D1 bracket and plays Clovis on Wednesday in what could be one of the better matches in the state.
10. (10) Huntington Beach 29-4
The Oilers have a great record but for most of the season were behind league rival Edison in Orange County rankings and Edison also won in the last match between those schools. That’s why we have Edison higher in our rankings. For the SoCal D1 playoffs, however, Huntington Beach is the top seed and Edison is No. 2. The Oilers play Palisades of Pacific Palisades on Wednesday.
11. (14) Santa Fe Christian
(Solana Beach) 28-7
It was the battle between No. 3 seed La Costa Canyon of Carlsbad and No. 4 seed Sante Fe Christian of Solana Beach in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship game and the Eagles avenged an early season loss to the Mavericks with a win when it meant the most as they won in straight sets. Led by senior Lexi Sun and her 20 kills and three blocks, they won their first section championship since 2007 when they won the Division IV crown. Emily Hubbard also had double digit kills with 11. Both teams will still have their seasons continue in the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs as the Eagles are the No. 3 seed and will take on Long Beach Poly.
12. (12) Sacred Heart Cathedral (SF) 27-8
The NorCal Open Division playoffs actually may end up just being a repeat of West Catholic Athletic League playoffs since the top three seeds are all from the powerful league. With Mitty and St. Ignatius as the top two seeds, the Irish were seeded No. 3. No surprise really. They open Wednesday night against North Coast Section D2 champ Campolindo of Moraga. In their last match, the Irish lost to Mitty in the CCS Open Division semifinals.
13. (13) Notre Dame (Belmont) 32-10
The Tigers, who won the CIF D4 state title last year, were moved up as expected this year into the Open Division and are the No. 4 seed behind the three teams they used to play all the time in the WCAL. Notre Dame, which lost to St. Ignatius in the CCS Open Division semifinals, begin the NorCal playoffs at home Thursday vs. North Coast Section D4 champ Marin Catholic.
14. (15) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 27-7
One team that definitely got good news on Sunday when the SoCal Open Division pairings came out was this one. The Falcons easily could have been seeded lower than No. 4 and therefore would have been on the road for a first-round match, but they got that fourth slot and will play at home against Mira Costa on Thursday. We don’t change rankings based on seedings being different, however, so Torrey Pines will have to beat the Mustangs to be higher-ranked next week.
15. (18) Pitman (Turlock) 28-7
For the third year in a row, the Pride ended the year as section champions after they defeated city rival Turlock in straight sets for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title. Yisel Perez had 15 kills while Marlowe Embry had 15 digs as they became just the fourth D1 team in section history to win three straight section titles. It was the third time this season those two teams had faced off with a 1-1 record previously in league games. Given the No. 7 seed in the CIF NorCal Open Division playoffs, Pitman will play next at No. 2 St. Ignatius of San Francisco on Thursday night.
16. (11) Marymount (Los Angeles) 31-5*
The Sailors are the best team that did not advance out of the CIFSS Division I playoffs into this week’s SoCal regionals. That’s because they were not able to get at least to semifinals of the CIFSS D1 bracket due to their 3-2 loss to Long Beach Poly in the second round. Marymount still had an overall top-notch season that should get them a final state ranking between No. 11 and No. 15.
17. (16) Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 27-5
Not dropping a set on their way to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game, the Falcons didn’t drop a set in the championship game as well. They defeated Sonora in straight sets. Under first-year coach James Todd, it was the program’s second straight CIF-SJS Division III title and the ninth in program history. The bad news, in a sense, is that instead of having a great chance to win the CIF D3 state title, CBS was given the No. 8 seed in the NorCal Open Division and will have to play at No. 1 Mitty in Thursday’s first round.
18. (19) Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 25-5
The Bears may have lost in the CCS Open Division first-round, but since the four teams that won first-round matches are all in the NorCal Open Division they were able to earn the top seed for the NorCal D1 bracket. They should have no trouble in first-round NorCal match Wednesday vs. Skyline of Oakland and then would play either Tracy or Los Gatos in the second round.
19. (17) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 23-10
Despite their loss to Santa Fe Christian in the CIF San Diego Open Division championship, the Mavericks still moved on into the CIF SoCal Open Division. This is partly because of the limit of four teams from any one section that can go into an Open Division and also because LCC did get a win over SFC early in the season. The Mavericks, however, have to play at Mater Dei in Thursday’s opening round.
20. (20) Liberty (Bakersfield) 25-7
The Patriots were tested in a five set classic in the semifinals against Clovis but they made it a shorter night in the CIF Central Section Division I championship game when they defeated Clovis West of Fresno in straight sets. Elsie Ferreira had a double-double with 17 kills and 10 digs and the offense had just nine unforced errors. According to historian Bob Barnett, it was Liberty’s third section title in program history and first at the Division I level. Earning the final spot in the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs, the Falcons will have to take on top seeded Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita on Thursday night.
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
Bakersfield Christian 34-1
Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 24-9
Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego) 18-10
Clovis West (Fresno) 34-10
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 19-11*
Eastlake (Chula Vista) 21-8
El Dorado (Placentia) 26-8*
Flintridge Sacred Heart (La Canada) 23-10*
Great Oak (Temecula) 16-13
Los Alamitos 19-17*
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 26-6
Miramonte (Orinda) 22-10
Monte Vista (Danville) 24-6
Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 34-8
Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 24-14*
Redwood (Larkspur) 23-14
San Benito (Hollister) 31-6
San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 24-3*
Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 31-3
St. Francis (Mountain View) 21-14
St. Joseph (Lakewood) 25-14
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