Mater Dei moves to No. 1 prior to matchup with Archbishop Mitty in CIF Open Division championship. Earlier win is a factor in ranking, but means nothing at this point of season. Santa Margarita, Sierra Canyon & James Logan of Union City are only other State Top 20 teams involved in CIF finals. Competitive equity seeding is reason for that and has watered down lower divisions significantly from previous CIF state finals.
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(Previous rank in parentheses)
(After matches of Saturday, Nov. 25)
*Indicates season complete.
1. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 37-5
Staring at an 8-5 deficit in the fifth set against host Torrey Pines in the CIF SoCal Open Division final, the Monarchs went on a 6-0 run to win that set 15-11 and give them a chance to win the school’s first CIF state volleyball title. Natalie Berty had 19 kills with several of her biggest swings coming down the stretch. Mater Dei has already played and beaten its CIF Open Division state title game opponent, Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, but head coach Dan O’Dell and anybody else who knows anything about California girls volleyball knows that Mitty always plays its best in its final two or three matches of the season.
2. (1) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 34-4*
The Falcons stormed back after losing the first two sets in their match against Mater Dei last Saturday 29-27 and 25-15 to force a fifth set. They won the third and fourth sets 25-22 and 25-23. In the fifth, however, the Monarchs prevailed and prevented Torrey Pines from going to the CIF state finals for the first time since 2001. All-State and All-American candidate Jaden Whitmarsh had a match-high 20 kills for the Falcons.
3. (3) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 37-5
While it is true that the Monarchs would rise up to No. 1 if they were to beat Mater Dei on Saturday and win their second straight CIF Open Division state title, they still have a 1-2 record vs. Torrey Pines and an 0-1 record vs. Mater Dei so far this year so it only makes sense that they are still No. 3 heading into the final match. Head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar’s girls topped previous state No. 4 Marin Catholic 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 in last Saturday’s NorCal Open final and also will now try to win their sixth straight state title and 14th overall. No other school has more.
4. (5) Marymount (Los Angeles) 31-9*
Season complete. Head coach Cari Klein’s squad goes back up to fourth due to previous No. 4 Marin Catholic falling a few spots after losing in the NorCal Open Division final to Mitty. When the Sailors were at full strength with no injuries to top players, there weren’t many teams in the nation that could compare.
5. (6) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 35-6*
Season complete. The Seahawks’ loss to No. 2 Torrey Pines was incredibly close, but they have to stay behind Marymount for this week and for the final rankings due to a loss to Sailors in the CIF Southern Section D1 semifinals.
6. (4) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 32-5*
It looks like the Wildcats will be either sixth or seventh in the final state rankings, depending on how Santa Margarita fares in the CIF Division I state final. They forced some anxious moments in both the first set and in the second set of their NorCal Open Division title game loss to Archbishop Mitty, but ended up getting swept. One of their other losses also was to the Monarchs.
7. (7) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 34-9
It’s probably an understatement to say that the Eagles are favored to win the CIF D1 state title on Friday at Rancho Santiago College in Orange vs. James Logan of Union City. They’ve been the projected winner of that title ever since they lost in a competitive CIFSS D1 quarterfinal match to No. 5 Redondo. They’ve even been No. 1 in the state overall earlier this season after a win over current No. 1 Mater Dei. In the team’s 25-15, 25-13, 23-25, 25-14 win over San Juan Hills in the CIF SoCal D1 final, Sarah Ciszek had 20 kills and 12 digs, Devon Chang had 51 assists and Gabby Barcelos had 14 kills.
8. (8) Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego) 25-10*
Season complete. Head coach Rachel Morris’ squad beat Cathedral Catholic in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division semifinals, then lost to No. 2 Torrey Pines in section final. That put the Ravens in the CIF SoCal Open Division where they lost in their first match to No. 5 Redondo.
9. (9) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 23-8*
Season complete. After losing to Canyon Crest Academy in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division semifinals, the Dons still gained selection to the SoCal Open Division due also to their D2 state title from last season. Unfortunately, they had to play Mater Dei right away and that was the end of their 2017 season.
10. (10) Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 22-8*
Season complete. As mentioned last week, suffering a head-to-head loss to Cathedral Catholic puts the Sea Kings’ behind that team for this week and likely for the final rankings. CdM got into the SoCal Open Division by getting to the semifinals of the CIFSS D1 playoffs, but lost in the first round to Torrey Pines.
11. (11) Central (Fresno) 40-3*
Season complete. The CIF Central Section Division I champions lost in their first CIF SoCal Open Division contest to No. 4 Marymount in straight set. It was still a breakout season for the Grizzlies.
12. (12) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 38-7
It was an epic comeback for the Trailblazers in the CIF SoCal Division II championship when they downed La Salle of Pasadena in five sets. Sierra Canyon lost the first two sets 16-25 and 19-25, but forced a fifth set with wins of 25-16 and 25-23. Then in the deciding game, they won 15-10. Jaylen Jordan (19 kills), Zoie Stewart (18 kills) and May Pertofsky (18 kills) all had strong nights for the Trailblazers. Sierra Canyon advanced to the CIF D2 state final on Saturday against 29-8 Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton. This is the only team from the D2 bracket in either north or south that has been in the state rankings in the last two months so it will be an upset if Sacred Heart Prep wins. No matter what happens, Sierra Canyon won’t pass Central of Fresno in the rankings due to a head-to-head loss.
13. (13) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 34-10*
Season complete. The Wildcats lost to Archbishop Mitty five times during the season, the final time coming in the CCS Open Division championship. SI was then knocked out of the NorCal Open Division in the semifinals by Marin Catholic.
14. (16) Monte Vista (Danville) 34-3*
Season complete. We will move up the Mustangs this week since they won the CIF North Coast Section D1 title over a James Logan of Union City squad that is playing Santa Margarita on Friday night for the CIF Division I state title. Monte Vista’s NorCal Open Division loss was to St. Ignatius.
15. (15) Temecula Valley (Temecula) 29-4*
Season complete. The Golden Bears hang tight at No. 15 pending the final rankings next week. They were the No. 4 seed for the CIFSS D1 playoffs, but was upset in the second round by Harvard-Westlake. The entirety of their season success is still enough for us for them to continue to be state-ranked.
16. (18) James Logan (Union City) 40-4
Junior outside hitter Tatiana Toleafoa hammered away for 25 kills and came up with 14 digs as the Colts won the CIF NorCal D1 title with a 25-19, 19-25, 25-22, 25-16 triumph over Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco. Logan, which wasn’t eligible for the NorCal Open Division and lost in the NCS D1 final to No. 14 Monte Vista, will now play No. 7 Santa Margarita for the CIF D1 state crown.
17. (14) San Juan Hills 26-14*
There was a brief run in the third set and in the early going of the fourth, but the Stallions couldn’t keep it going in their loss to No. 7 Santa Margarita in last Saturday’s CIF SoCal D1 championship. Their late-season surge, however, in both the CIFSS and CIF SoCal D1 brackets, should be a clincher for a final State Top 20 ranking.
18. (17) Turlock 34-9*
Season complete. There’s still a lot of disappointment around the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section that the CIF put the Bulldogs in the NorCal Open Division. They won their first-ever section title by downing St. Francis of Sacramento in the D1 final and then won in the opening round of the NorCal Open Division against Menlo School before losing to Marin Catholic.
19. (19) Menlo School (Atherton) 29-6
Season complete. We’ll keep the Knights at the tail end of these rankings for at least one more week. They lost in the CCS Open Division semifinals to Mitty and then lost in the NorCal Open Division to Turlock. Menlo’s rival, Sacred Heart Prep, is playing for the CIF D2 state title this week against Sierra Canyon. The Knights, however, are the ones who won the league title.
20. (NR) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 30-7*
Season complete. The Jackrabbits will make the final State Top 20 for having playoff losses to higher-ranked Marymount and San Juan Hills and for having an earlier win over San Juan Hills plus having two strong wins early in the season over both Santa Margarita and Corona del Mar.
TEAMS THAT DROPPED OUT:
Previous No. 20 Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco).
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 25-8*
Branson (Ross) 25-7*
Buchanan (Clovis) 34-8*
Carlmont (Belmont) 33-5*
Culver City 31-2*
Edison (Huntington Beach) 16-11*
Foothill (Tustin) 21-6*
Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 19-11*
Huntington Beach 26-8*
JSerra (San Juan Capistrano) 19-7*
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 18-14*
La Salle (Pasadena) 28-7*
Liberty (Bakersfield) 22-9*
Los Alamitos 22-11*
Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 11-12*
Ponderosa (Shingle Springs) 34-5*
Rancho Cucamonga 23-10*
Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 25-13*
Sacred Heart Prep (Atherton) 29-8
Santiago (Corona) 32-7*
St. Francis (Mountain View) 23-14*
St. Francis (Sacramento) 33-9*
Valley Christian (San Jose) 21-14*
Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 18-8*
Note: There definitely are not any teams from the CIF Division III, Division IV or Division V state championships that would be bubble teams for these rankings. We’d be confident saying that all of these bubble teams would be winning in any of those divisions. Competitive equity seedings have pushed up previous small school powers like Branson of Ross into higher divisions and left room for teams that are middle of the road to actually poor in strong leagues to be able to go far in the state playoffs.