NEW Girls VB State Top 20

Santa Margarita players explode off the bench after final point goes down in their comeback win last week over rivals from Mater Dei. Photo: @SMCHSVolleyball/

Santa Margarita takes over No. 1 ranking from league rival Mater Dei but it could change again with both teams heading to the Nike Tournament of Champions this weekend in Arizona. Marymount also is hoping to make a splash in that event, but made one of a different kind on Tuesday night by getting upset by Corona del Mar. The other big news of the week was Archbishop Mitty head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar collecting his 800th career win.



(Previous rank in parentheses)
(After matches of Tuesday, Sept 26)

1. (2) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 12-3
It’s an obvious flip of the top two spots after the Eagles won a tremendous come-from-behind victory last Thursday over previous No. 1 Mater Dei in a Trinity League match. Santa Margarita lost the first two games of the match, then came back to win three in a row. That avenged the team’s loss earlier to Mater Dei at the Ann Kang Invitational in Hawaii. There is an additional loss to Long Beach Poly in that event, but in addition to beating Mater Dei the Eagles also have wins over Marymount, Edison of Huntington Beach and Mira Costa. They are playing this weekend at the Nike TOC in Arizona against an elite national field, including No. 1 Walton of Marietta, Ga.

2. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 16-4
Like Santa Margarita, the Monarchs also will be in the Nike TOC. They will be attempting to finish even higher than they did at the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas (which was third). Another team to watch in that tournament is unbeaten Arizona school Corona del Sol, which moved up to No. 3 in the nation this week in the FloVolleyball Flo50 rankings.

Mitty head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar holds up one of the 10 CIF state championships that he has won with the Monarchs. Photo:

3. (4) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 16-4
It’s not the 800th win by head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar or the win on Tuesday against St. Ignatius that was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 for Northern California that allowed the Monarchs to move up. No, that had more to do with previous No. 6 Marymount getting a win over previous No. 3 Redondo combined with the fact that Mitty has a win over Marymount. In Tuesday’s match, Mitty won in four games. Almazan-Cezar, who started his coaching career at Lincoln of Stockton, became just the third reported coach in State history to get to 800 girls volleyball coaching wins. The reported leader is retired Bakersfield Centennial coach Brooke Roberts with 883.

4. (8) Temecula Valley (Temecula) 12-0
The Golden Bears swept Great Oak of Temecula on Tuesday to remain unbeaten. They move up since previous No. 3 Redondo lost to Marymount and then on Tuesday of this week Marymount was upset by Corona del Mar (Newport Beach). One of CdM’s losses was to the Long Beach Poly team that Temecula Valley beat to win the recent Dave Mohs tourney title.

5. (5) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 10-3
Coach Brennan Dean’s club had a tough match last week with bubble team Canyon Crest Academy and held off the Ravens 3-2. The Falcons, who have split with No. 3 Archbishop Mitty, were led by Jaden Whitmarsh with 25 kills. Dani Fornaciari added 15 while Emily Fitzner had 13.

6. (10) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 17-3
With a win on their resume over Santa Margarita and now a round one showdown win in the Moore League over Lakewood, the Jackrabbits receive a boost in this week’s rankings. Their last loss was to unbeaten and higher-ranked Temecula Valley and they have a win over Corona del Mar (the team that just upset Marymount).

7. (6) Marymount (Los Angeles) 9-4
The Sailors are proving to be one of those up-and-down teams that are difficult to rank. On the plus side, they have wins over Torrey Pines and Redondo. But then came Tuesday night when they were upset by Corona del Mar. They also will be heading to the Nike TOC this weekend. Their first game is Friday vs. St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

8. (3) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 13-4
Yes, it looks odd that the runner-up from the Durango Fall Classic is now only at No. 8 in these rankings. But for this week anyway the Seahawks have to be behind Marymount for a head-to-head loss and then Marymount complicating matters by losing this week to Corona del Mar.

9. (7) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 22-4
Despite a two-spot drop it actually was a pretty good week for the Wildcats. They lost on Tuesday night at home but that was to No. 3 Mitty and they had a win late last week against arch-rival Sacred Heart Cathedral. They had to drop to stay behind Marymount and Redondo and those two had to drop behind Temecula Valley and Long Beach Poly.

10. (11) Central (Fresno) 28-2
This school is coming on in many sports and not just girls volleyball and now the Grizzlies are in the top 10. They won on Tuesday 3-1 vs. Clovis West behind 21 kills from Mikayla Lewis (a junior). The team has a tough match coming up against Buchanan (23-4), which we were hoping to get ranked this week as well but not enough teams lost to create room.

11. (9) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 16-2
Head coach Margi Biema’s girls rebounded from their loss to St. Ignatius with a WCAL match win against St. Francis of Mountain View. Keep in mind that based on graduation losses it looked like St. Francis was going to be the main challenger to Mitty in the WCAL this season, but both St. Ignatius and SHC have been outstanding.

Six-foot-two Jen Trepham is a junior to watch for unbeaten Westlake. Photo:

12. (13) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 5-5
This ranking is a bit tricky because we simply couldn’t find out if the Mustangs played their match on Tuesday against bubble team Palos Verdes. We’ll continue to rank them in front of Edison due to a head-to-head win.

13. (14) Edison (Huntington Beach) 10-8
One of the bigger matches in the state on Tuesday saw the Chargers defeat Huntington Beach. That just adheres to the storyline that they’re still coming back from a slow start.

14. (17) JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 14-3
Kate Gonzales distributed 60 assists as the Lions won a five-game match on Tuesday night against Orange Lutheran. Carolyn Kennedy (27 kills) and Kylie Pries (21 kills) also combined for 48 kills. JSerra also is playing Santa Margarita early next week.

15. (12) Lakewood 11-3
This is where the Lancers fall after their Moore League loss last week to Long Beach Poly. They are behind JSerra (head-to-head loss) but in front of Harvard-Westlake, which is the team they beat to win their own tournament earlier this season.

16. (NR) Westlake (Westlake Village) 13-0
Their schedule isn’t that great, but the Warriors also don’t even have a 3-2 match on their ledger so far in getting out to an unbeaten start. The team has good size with 6-foot-2 junior Jen Trephan at setter/opposite and with 5-foot-11 junior Ashley Webb at the same position. There are no seniors on the roster, either, so look for the team to head to more elite tournaments next season.

17. (20) Monte Vista (Danville) 12-0
The Mustangs remained perfect with league victories against Carondelet of Concord and San Ramon Valley of Danville. They should face some strong competition this weekend at the Oak Ridge tourney in El Dorado Hills.

18. (15) Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 11-5
There were no results reported for the Wolverines from last week, but they stay in the State Top 20 based on some of the wins they’ve had even though there also are five losses. They also will have a chance to make some noise twice in upcoming Mission League matches with No. 7 Marymount.

19. (19) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 8-4
In their only match of last week, the Dons topped Scripps Ranch of San Diego. They are likely not going to lose until they host the California Challenge tournament in two weeks.

20. (18) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 9-3
We were probably going to have to drop the Wildcats to make room for unbeaten Westlake, but they were saved by Burlingame, which upset previous No. 16 Carlmont on Tuesday night. Head coach Jake Spain’s team returned from the Durango Fall Classic to post wins against Tamalpais and Redwood of Larkspur and this weekend will be at the Oak Ridge tourney.

Previous No. 16 Carlmont (Belmont).

Buchanan (Clovis) 23-4
Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego) 7-5
Carlmont (Belmont) 12-2
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 6-4
Huntington Beach 10-5
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 10-3
La Salle (Pasadena) 13-1
Liberty (Bakersfield) 11-6
Los Alamitos 14-6
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 8-3
Palos Verdes (PV Estates) 14-6
Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 11-4
St. Francis (Mountain View) 9-4
Valley Christian (San Jose) 10-6
Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 9-3

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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