The season is well underway for some teams and several of them played on Tuesday night. We have the first rankings of the season that already reflect results and the team that would have been preseason No. 1, Mater Dei of Santa Ana, improved to 3-0 and therefore is still No. 1. The Monarchs should face serious challenges from both Marymount of Los Angeles and Redondo of Redondo Beach in the CIF Southern Section. Two-time defending CIF Open Division state champ Archbisop Mitty has a lot of graduation holes to fill, but is still a top five squad until proven otherwise.
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(After matches of Tuesday, Aug. 21)
1. Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 3-0
The Monarchs already have an early win over Torrey Pines of San Diego. They have great size with 6-foot-3 senior OH Natalie Berty, 6-foot junior Kristina Pepek and 6-foot-2 junior Meg Brown. They also have Stanford-bound setter Mia Tuaniga to distribute the ball to everyone.
2. Marymount (Los Angeles) 3-0
Devon Newberry, one of the top upcoming beach players in the nation, had 375 kills last season for the Sailors and looks like a Ms. Volleyball State Player of the Year candidate. She’ll play next at UCLA. Grace Froeling, a 6-foot-4 setter headed to the University of San Diego, is another major talent. Marymount won on Tuesday night at Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) in straight sets.
3. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 3-0
Kami Miner, a sophomore who has USA Junior National Team experience, is just one of the top returnees for the Seahawks. Among those also back is 6-foot OH Jasmine Davis, who helped Redondo beat Pleasant Valley of Chico last March in the CIF Division II state championship game in basketball.
4. Torrey Pines (San Diego) 1-1
The Falcons’ early loss is to No. 1 Mater Dei. They still gained a lot of national preseason attention despite losing some great seniors, led by Jaden Whitmarsh. There are some strong returnees as well, led by Kendra Ham and Emily Fitzner.
5. Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 0-0
The top returnee for 11-time state champion head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar is setter/libero Lauren Haniger. She’s from one of the top athletic families that Mitty is known for and is a cousin of the Seattle Mariners’ Mitch Haniger. All of the other starters from last season will need to be replaced.
6. Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 0-0
Only one player is gone from last year’s roster for the Dons, making them a prime contender to replace Torrey Pines as the CIF San Diego Section Open Division champion. Peyton Wilhite, a highly regarded 6-foot-4 outside hitter, leads the group.
7. Temecula Valley (Temecula) 1-1
The Golden Bears, who suffered their early loss to No. 2 Marymount, have a duo with all-state credentials coming from last year when they finished 29-4. They are second team all-state setter Jordyn Amoy and second team all-state outside hitter Madison Endsley.
8. Central (Fresno) 1-0
A win on Tuesday over Bakersfield Christian started off the season for the Grizzlies, who were 41-3 last season. Makayla Lewis returns after hammering home 549 kills as a junior. Setters Angie Cabal and Victoria Custodia also are back with more than 600 assists each.
9. Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 0-0
Standouts Riley Ramsey and Ry Goodwin are gone, but the Wildcats have just as much or more back with 6-foot-5 middle blocker Keri Geissberger along with expert setter Leah Pease.
10. San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 0-0
The Stallions welcome back three of their top four leaders in kills — led by 6-foot-2 sophomore Brianne Albright. Junior setter Casi Newman also returns after getting 1,200 assists.
11. Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 0-0
We think both the Fighting Irish and their rivals from St. Ignatius should have strong squads this season. SHC returns just about everyone from last season’s team that won 25 games. Juniors Megan Lenn (OH) and Alden Stanley (S) are among those back.
12. St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 0-0
The Wildcats have one of the top returning middle blockers in California in 6-foot-2 Elizabeth Fleming. She is headed to Duke and will be looking to help SI go even further than the CIF NorCal Open Division semifinals this season.
13. Menlo School (Atherton) 0-0
Yes, it was tempting to put the Knights much higher with a player like Selina Xu coming back. She’s a Stanford commit and USA Junior National Team member and is as multi-talented as you can get. Also back is kills leader Grace King (279 kills), but Menlo still needs to go out and consistently beat the West Catholic Athletic League foes before going too high in the rankings.
14. Rancho Cucamonga 3-0
The Cougars are reportedly out to a 3-0 start and look like a strong team in the Inland Empire. While Karson Bacon has departed for Oregon, younger sis Kameron is back for her junior year. Setter Alecza Abary is another key rturnee.
15. Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 4-3
The Sea Kings are shown with more than one loss already from a tournament they played at in Texas. Stanford-bound Kendall Kipp (6-foot-4) was a junior on last year’s team that went 23-8.
16. Buchanan (Clovis) 8-2
This team was right there with Central of Fresno in the CIF Central Section last season and only lost one key senior. The Bears began their season at the Ann Kang tourney in Hawaii and their only losses were Hawaii powerhouse Iolani.
17. Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego) 0-2
Despite losing the first two matches, those were to Marymount and Temecula Valley. The Ravens still look more than solid as a third team out of the CIF San Diego Section. Only four seniors from last season are gone.
18. Los Alamitos 2-1
The early loss for the Griffins was to Redondo. They have strong cast of returnees, led by Utah-bound 6-foot OH Abby Karich.
19. Ponderosa (Shingle Springs) 1-0
A great senior class is back for head coach Mike Yates and it’s a group that went 34-5 last season. With Turlock losing a lot, the Bruins could be the team to beat in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section.
20. JSerra (SJ Capistrano) 2-0
We were going to put last season’s CIF D1 state champs from Santa Margarita in these rankings, but the Eagles lost on Tuesday at Great Oak of Temecula. The Lions beat Capistrano Valley and have most of last year’s team back that beat the Eagles late in the season and only lost to Mater Dei 3-2. JSerra also has a big game coming up on Thursday vs. San Juan Hills.
Teams On the Bubble
Great Oak (Temecula) 1-0
Harvard-Westlake (N. Hollywood) 4-1
James Logan (Union City) 0-0
Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 2-1
St. Francis (Sacramento) 0-0