Amazing Mitty steps it up in final match once again as the Monarchs sweep Mater Dei to win CIF Open Division state title and finish No. 1 overall in the state for the seventh time. This was the 40th year of CIF state finals, but we’ve got Teams of the Year further back than that. Lakewood also joins the final State Top 20 as lone newcomer.
To see State Team of the Year list from 1972 with Mitty now added for 2017, CLICK HERE.
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(Previous rank in parentheses)
(After matches of Saturday, Dec. 2)
*Indicates season complete.
1. (3) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 38-5
It’s hard to believe how similar Mitty’s path to the second-ever CIF Open Division state title was to last year’s first-ever Open Division crown. First, in both years, the Monarchs dropped an early season match to Mater Dei of Santa Ana and in both years they also lost in the title game of the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, which comes just before the various section playoffs get underway. But if there’s one constant in the program of head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar it’s that his teams ramp it up to the highest level possible in the final two or three matches of every season. That was the case last year when the Monarchs beat Santa Margarita in the state final and that’s what happened last Saturday in a 25-19, 25-18, 27-25 victory over Mater Dei. It was the sixth straight state title in all for Mitty and the school’s 14th overall, including 11 now with Almazan-Cezar at the helm. Nicole Liddle came through with a match-high 16 kills while Julia Devine added 10. This also is the xxxth time that Mitty has been the Cal-Hi Sports State Team of the Year. That honor now is just a rubber-stamp with the Open Division, but before that decisions had to be made between the various CIF divisional titlists.
2. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 37-6
After dropping the first two sets of the CIF Open Division state final to Mitty, the Monarchs opened up a 22-15 lead in the third set and had a chance to get back in it. Mitty then went on a 7-0 run and still won the third set to clinch the victory. Natalie Berty had 11 kills to lead Mater Dei, but none of the players had the type of numbers needed on this night. They did on the previous Saturday in a win at then state No. 1 Torrey Pines and that win also makes Mater Dei an easy choice to be No. 2 in this year’s final state rankings.
3. (2) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 34-4
Season complete. The Falcons lost in a five-set thriller to Mater Dei in the CIF SoCal Open Division championship. They also posted two wins in three matches against Mitty. The program has just recently had a hard time getting to the state finals and hasn’t done that since 2001.
4. (4) Marymount (Los Angeles) 31-9
Season complete. The Sailors saw their hopes for a CIF Open Division state title stopped in a loss to Mater Dei in the SoCal Open semifinals. They also fought to get to the CIF Southern Section Division I championship where another loss to Mater Dei occurred. The first time they played the Monarchs, however, they won.
5. (5) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 35-6
Season complete. The Seahawks’ lost to No. 3 Torrey Pines in the CIF SoCal Open Division semifinals. They also made it to the CIFSS D1 semifinals where they lost in another very close match to No. 4 Marymount.
6. (7) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 35-9
As expected, the Eagles made quick work of previous state No. 16 James Logan of Union City in the CIF Division I state championship. They blew past the Colts 25-19, 25-12, 25-13 and won the program’s second state title. Devon Chang (committed to UCLA) had 34 assists while Sarah Ciszek (15 kills) and Taylor Heberle (11 kills) were standouts at the net. Santa Margarita’s path to winning that state title was clear-cut after a tough loss to Redondo in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals. With the top four CIFSS semifinalists guaranteed for the SoCal Open Division, the loser of that Redondo-Santa Margarita quarterfinal was going to be D1 and not Open and therefore a big favorite in D1. If Redondo had lost that match, it would now be celebrating a D1 state title. The Eagles did get a win over Mater Dei in a Trinity League match, so we’re not saying they’re not an elite team. They are and they proved it last Saturday.
7. (6) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 32-5
Season complete. Although Mitty won the CIF Open Division state title, we still flip-flopped the Wildcats with Santa Margarita in the final rankings with the Eagles rolling to the D1 state crown. Marin Catholic lost to Mitty in the NorCal Open Division final and also played well against other national level opponents.
8. (8) Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego) 25-10
Season complete. The Ravens topped 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. A head-to-head win puts the Dons in front of CIFSS D1 semifinalist Corona del Mar in the final rankings. Both teams were in the CIF SoCal Open Division and for Cathedral Catholic that was a first round loss to No. 2 Mater Dei.
10. (10) Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 22-8
Season complete. After losing to Cathedral Catholic at the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, the Sea Kings went on a run in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. They notched wins against Tesoro of Las Flores, Huntington Beach and then Harvard-Westlake that got them into the semifinals where they lost to Mater Dei. CdM then lost in the first round of the SoCal Open Division to Torrey Pines.
11. (13) St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 34-10
Season complete. For having five losses to the eventual CIF Open Division state champs from Archbishop Mitty (and playing the Monarchs strongly in a couple of those matches), we’re giving the Wildcats a two-spot bump for the final rankings. They also were a NorCal Open Division semifinals where they lost to Marin Catholic on the road. In addition, St. Ignatius won an early season tournament in which Mitty played.
12. (11) Central (Fresno) 40-3
Season complete. The Grizzlies won the CIF Central Section Division I championship with a triumph against league rival Buchanan (Clovis) and because they were ranked in the top 10 at the time qualified for the CIF SoCal Open Division. They didn’t last long in that bracket, however, with a 3-0 loss to No. 4 Marymount in the opening round.
13. (12) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 39-7
May Petrofsky ripped away for 16 kills as the Trailblazers won their first state title with a 3-0 triumph over Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton in the CIF D2 championship. Scores of the match were 25-18, 28-26 and 25-22. If Sierra Canyon had not come back from deficits of 18-10 and 23-17 in the second set it’s possible the outcome could have been different. Jayden Jordan added 11 kills and 11 digs. Sierra Canyon still has to be behind Central of Fresno in the final rankings due to head-to-head loss so the team’s final state ranking actually dropped by one.
14. (14) Monte Vista (Danville) 34-3
Season complete. The Mustangs won the CIF North Coast Section D1 title over CIF D1 state finalist James Logan of Union City and then went into the NorCal Open Division. They lost in the first round, but it was to higher-ranked St. Ignatius. And now with a NorCal team winning the Open Division, we’ll leave Monte Vista in the No. 14 position for the final rankings.
15. (15) Temecula Valley (Temecula) 29-4
Season complete. This was the No. 4 seed for the CIFSS D1 playoffs, but the Golden Bears were upset in the second round by Harvard-Westlake. That was only their fourth loss of the season and the team did plenty in its other matches starting in late August to be at this position for the final rankings.
16. (17) San Juan Hills 26-14
Season complete. The Stallions surged at the end of the season and their playoff losses were to No. 2 Mater Dei in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals and then to No. 6 Santa Margarita in the CIF SoCal D1 championship.
17. (18) Turlock 34-9
Season complete. The Bulldogs won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title and were seeded higher than St. Ignatius in the NorCal Open Division due to having an early-season head-to-head win. There were some more questionable losses after that and we didn’t put the team into the State Top 20 until the very end. Still, a great season for this team.
18. (20) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 30-7
Season complete. The Jackrabbits were in the top five early in the season when their win over Santa Margarita became hugely significant. They went further than league rival Lakewood in the CIFSS playoffs, but lost in the quarterfinals to No. 4 Marymount and then in the CIF SoCal D1 bracket they lost to the same team (San Juan Hills) that ended Lakewood’s season.
19. (NR) Lakewood 24-5
Season complete. A loss to No. 16 San Juan Hills eliminated the Lancers from the CIFSS D1 playoffs, but we still wanted to put them back into the final rankings right behind Long Beach Poly and as a replacement for previous No. 16 James Logan (Union City). Lakewood won one of two Moore League matches against Poly and also had more than solid wins against Edison of Huntington Beach and Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco.
20. (8) Menlo School (Atherton) 29-6
Season complete. For this final position in the final rankings, the Knights hang onto the No. 20 spot. They lost in the CCS Open Division semifinals to Mitty and then lost in the NorCal Open Division to Turlock. Menlo also won the Peninsula Athletic League title over Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton, which just played and lost to Sierra Canyon in the D2 state final.
TEAM THAT DROPPED OUT:
Previous No. 16 James Logan (Union City).
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
James Logan (Union City) 40-5
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) 29-9
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: Congrats to CIF state champions Point Loma of San Diego (D3), Presentation of San Jose (D4) & Maranatha Christian (D5). The Pointers ended 23-12 after topping Lincoln of San Francisco in state title match. Presentation wound up at 20-21 after it downed Rancho Bernardo of San Diego. And in D5, Maranatha Christian won the way a small school should win a state title. Maranatha defeated San Marin of Novato in the state final and capped a 34-1 season. Presentation won its second state title. The other three all won their first.
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