Due to the first-ever Open Division, it was harder to rank the CIF divisional state champions too high. CIF D1 state champ Edison did land fourth, but D2 champion Cathedral Catholic couldn’t crack the final Top 20 and neither could D3 titlist Acalanes of Lafayette. Cathedral Catholic and nine other teams, however, were placed in special expanded final rankings that went from No. 21 to No. 30.
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(Through games of Saturday, Dec. 3)
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. (2) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 38-4
For the fifth season in a row and 13th in program history, the Monarchs are state champions as they defeated Santa Margarita of Rancho Santa Margarita in straight sets 25-19, 25-22, 25-18 to win the the CIF Open Division state title last Saturday at Santiago Canyon College. Arizona-bound Candice Denny led the Monarchs with 17 kills as they defeated the Eagles for the second time this season without losing a set. Nicole Liddle added 13 kills and Kamrin Caoili had 12. There are only a handful of programs in all sports combined that have ever gotten to five straight state titles in state history. Great Oak of Temecula just won its fifth in a row in girls cross country and in 2015 Clovis wrestling won its fifth straight.
2. (1) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 34-5
With a chance to avenge an earlier loss to Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, the Eagles were unable to prevent the Monarchs from another straight set win as they lost in the CIF Open Division state finals. Meghan McClure had a team-high 15 kills while Sarah Ciszek was also in double digits with 10 kills. After capturing the CIF Southern Section Division I championship, Santa Margarita lost just one set to earn its spot in the CIF Open Division state final.
3. (3) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 34-7
The Monarchs have had several teams in recent years that looked capable of being the best in the state, but it just hasn’t happened for them yet. This season, while the team was good enough to beat No. 1 Mitty at Mitty, it couldn’t get over the hump named Santa Margarita. Mater Dei ended up losing four times to the Eagles, including the title matche in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. The Monarchs also lost in the CIF SoCal Open Division semifinals to Santa Fe Christian, but did enough in all of their other matches to still be ahead of SFC in the final rankings.
4. (4) Edison (Huntington Beach) 36-8
Playing in their first CIF state final, the Chargers swept Menlo-Atherton of Atherton 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 to capture the Division I state championship. Hannah Phair had a team-high 13 kills while Cassidy Dennison and Taylor Gray each added 10 kills. Dani Dennison had 19 digs while Lindsey Sparks recorded 37 assists. “They battled all year, and culminating it with playing our best volleyball at the end of the year. I’m excited to bring home our first state championship,” said head coach Matt Skolnik to OCVarsity after the game.
5. (5) Santa Fe Christian
(Solana Beach) 30-8
Yes, you could say that head coach Amanda Miles’ squad kicked it up a notch once the San Diego Section Open Division playoffs began. Santa Fe Christian began by knocking off eventual CIF D2 state champ Cathedral Catholic in that bracket and then topped perennial power Torrey Pines in the semifinals. That set up a title match victory over La Costa Canyon followed by wins in the CIF SoCal Open Division against Long Beach Poly and Mater Dei. The season ended with a loss to Santa Margarita. Texas-bound Lexi Sun powered the attack with 630 kills during the season and also ended with more than 1,800 for her career.
6. (6) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 28-8
For almost the entire season, the Falcons were sitting pretty atop the San Diego Section rankings. They couldn’t corral the SD Section Open Division title, however, when they lost to red-hot Santa Fe Christian in the semifinals. Torrey Pines then beat Mira Costa for the second time during the season in the SoCal Open Division playoffs before losing to Santa Margarita in the semifinals.
7. (7) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 29-10
Having two losses to Torrey Pines keeps the Mustangs at No. 7 for the final rankings. They were able to pin one of the four losses on the resume of CIF Open Division state runner-up Santa Margarita and they beat eventual D1 state champ Edison in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. Four seniors — Alexa Underwood, Britt Brommer, Amanda Montag and Hannah Scott — were the top players, but Mira Costa will return just about everyone else from the roster and should be among the state’s best once again next season.
8. (9) Huntington Beach 31-5
We’ll give the Oilers a slight bump after a team they have a win against, Edison of Huntington Beach, won the CIF Division I state title. They lost to the Chargers in the D1 SoCal final after they topped Ventura in the semifinals. Huntington’s win against Edison came in Sunset League play.
9. (8) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 32-9
The Wildcats never were able to get a win against Mitty and they played the Monarchs four times — twice in league, once for the CCS Open Division title and then against for the CIF NorCal Open Division state crown. In SI’s last nine non-Mitty matches, however, the team went 9-0. Head coach David Huan’s squad also had impressive wins at the Durango Fall Classic against nationally ranked Assumption of Louisville, Ky., and Fayetteville, Ark.
10. (10) Lakewood 31-6
Team captains Alexis Artiago, Shelbie Dobmeier and Destynie Vlllamu helped the Lancers to an outstanding season. The main reason they earned a high ranking was winning the Moore League title over Long Beach Poly and beating the Jackrabbits twice. Poly then went on a big run in the CIFSS playoffs. In the CIF SoCal D1 bracket, Lakewood topped Clovis and Canyon Crest Academy before losing 3-2 to eventual D1 state champ Edison of Huntington Beach.
11. (11) Ventura 35-3
Highlights of the season for the Cougars included a championship in the CIFSS Division II playoffs and a win over eventual CIF Open Division state champ Archbishop Mitty of San Jose at the Santa Barbara TOC. If Ventura had been able to win the D1 state title with Mitty winning in the Open Division, the Monarchs still probably would have been State Team of the Year but at least we’d have had an interesting debate.
12. (13) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 23-10
The Jackrabbits were lost in the shuffle on the bubble with two Moore League losses to Lakewood and with some questionable losses mixed in with a few solid wins. Everything changed once the CIFSS D1 playoffs began, however, as Poly pulled off an upset of L.A. Marymount, then upset Huntington Beach to reach the semifinals. Although the girls then lost to Santa Margarita and then lost again to Santa Fe Christian to start the SoCal Open Division, those upsets clearly lifted the team up into the State Top 20.
13. (14) Marymount (Los Angeles) 31-5
This is a tricky team to rank because during the regular season it climbed to as high as fourth and then even at the end of the season the Sailors are No. 4 in the state computer rankings. Two of the five losses also were to Santa Margarita. In our final evaluation, however, we went with putting Marymount behind the Long Beach Poly team it lost to in the CIFSS D1 playoffs.
14. (15) Sacred Heart Cathedral (SF) 27-9
Based on head-to-head results, it was fairly easy to rank Sacred Heart Cathedral, Notre Dame of Belmont and CIF D1 state finalist Menlo-Atherton in that order and somewhere in the range of No. 15. We did not rank either Campolindo or Marin Catholic in the final State Top 20 despite the Cougars getting a win over SHC in the NorCal Open playoffs and MC doing the same to Notre Dame. The reason is that the three CCS teams played such strong schedules and overcame the upsets with many quality wins. For Sacred Heart, this included two wins against Marin Catholic and another over eventual CIFD3 state champ Acalanes of Lafayette.
15. (16) Notre Dame (Belmont) 32-11
Head coach Jen Agresti’s girls were moved up to the Open Division this season after winning the 2015 CIF Division IV state title. They ended up with double-digit losses, but also were fourth at the Durango Fall Classic and fourth at the Nike TOC. In the playoffs, the Tigers beat Menlo-Atherton in the CCS Open Division, then lost to Campoolindo in the NorCal Open Division. Senior Katie Smoot was the team’s top player with more than 600 kills.
16. (12) Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 29-6
For the second year in a row, the Bears made the state finals but came up short as they lost to Edison of Huntington Beach in straight sets in the CIF Division I state title match. Michigan-bound Jacqueline DiSanto nearly had a double-double as she had 13 kills and nine digs while Kiana Sales had eight kills and 11 digs. “It didn’t turn out the way we wanted,” said head coach Fletcher Anderson to the Mercury News. “But these girls should be proud of what they accomplished, especially the last two years.”
17. (17) Pitman (Turlock) 28-8
Senior Yisel Perez led in kills while junior Kaylin Randhawa was the top blocker for a Pride team that won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title before losing to St. Ignatius in the NorCal Open Division. Pitman also did a good job of avenging losses, first against Turlock in league and then later to Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills.
18. (18) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 23-11
Bronte Ziomek led the Mavericks in kills and was part of a solid team that seemed to settle in the range of No. 14 to No. 20 in the weekly state rankings. Due to head to head wins, coach Said Soulkane’s squad had to be in front of both Cathedral Catholic (won CIF D2 state title) and Canyon Crest Academy (a team that also beat Cathedral Catholic).
19. (19) Christian Brothers (Sacramento) 27-6
The Falcons caught our attention with wins against Valley Christian of San Jose (eventually went to D2 state final) and Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills (went to NorCal D1 state final) at the Stockton Classic. They then won third straight Sac-Joaquin Section D3 title, but were lifted up into the CIF NorCal Open Division and quickly lost to the No. 1 team in the state. If CBS had gotten to stay in D3, no one knows for sure, but would have been the team to beat in CIF D3 state playoffs.
20. (NR) Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego) 20-11
After listing Valley Christian of San Jose in the 20th slot last week, the Warriors lost in the CIF Division II title match to Cathedral Catholic of San Diego. Canyon Crest owns a head-to-head win over the Dons, also owns a win over Ventura and lost in a 3-2 match in the CIF D1 playoffs to Lakewood.
Previous No. 20 Valley Christian (San Jose).
EXPANDED NEXT 10 TEAMS
21. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 28-9
22. Valley Christian (San Jose) 28-13
23. San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 24-3
24. Campolindo (Moraga) 30-11
25. Liberty (Bakersfield) 25-8
26. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 28-7
27. Eastlake (Chula Vista) 22-9
28. Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 36-9
29. Flintridge Sacred Heart (La Canada) 24-10
30. Temecula Valley (Temecula) 25-5
MORE HONORABLE MENTION TEAMS
Acalanes (Lafayette) 31-9
Clovis West (Fresno) 34-11
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 19-11
Crossroads (Santa Monica) 27-5
El Dorado (Placentia) 26-8
Great Oak (Temecula) 16-14
Los Alamitos 19-16
Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 28-7
Miramonte (Orinda) 23-11
Monte Vista (Danville) 26-7
Rancho Cucamonga 24-11
Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 24-14
Redwood (Larkspur) 23-15
San Benito (Hollister) 31-7
St. Francis (Mountain View) 23-15
St. Joseph (Lakewood) 27-15
Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 17-10
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports