This week’s rankings are altered with further consideration for teams being at full strength in some games and without key players in others, but we’ve never assumed certain teams are going to win games at full strength and we know that section and state playoffs will eventually answer all questions. Newcomers this week are Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth, Rancho Cucamonga, Vista Murrieta and Buchanan. Cathedral Catholic also shakes things up (sort of) by reaching finals of California Challenge tourney.
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(Previous rank in parentheses)
(After matches of Tuesday, Oct. 2)
1. (1) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 22-2
With previous No. 3 Torrey Pines losing to Cathedral Catholic last weekend, the top three rankings positions in the state are now all occupied by the likely top three seeds for the CIF Southern Section Open Division. Take your pick really over which one should be seeded first since all three have arguments to be there. Bottom line is that the No. 1 seed isn’t likely going to have as difficult a semifinal match as the other two. Redondo kept its hopes alive to be the top seed with a 3-0 win last weekend over state-ranked Harvard-Westlake. Scores were 25-13, 25-15, 25-17.
2. (2) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 35-2
The Monarchs cruised past Santa Margarita in a huge Trinity League match on Tuesday and still have a big non-league match coming up, which will be Thursday against No. 3 Marymount.
3. (4) Marymount (Los Angeles) 26-6
USA beach standout Devon Newberry has had other commitments and didn’t play in any of Marymount’s losses except one. In those situations, we don’t assume the Sailors would have won all of those matches and we also know that with her in the CIFSS playoffs and possibly the CIF state playoffs it will be proven how strong the squad can play and the rankings will take care of themselves.
4. (3) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 24-3
A situation with a team not being at full strength in some of its matches also is going on in San Diego. That team isn’t Torrey Pines, but the Falcons still have a 2-1 record in matches against Cathedral Catholic this season after they lost to the Dons 25-23, 16-25 and 15-12 in the semifinals of last weekend’s California Challenge. It’s not as if Cathedral Catholic rolled Torrey Pines at full strength and the Falcons’ overall record is still much stronger. Those two probably will play again in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division so whichever team wins will probably be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed for the CIF SoCal Open Division bracket.
5. (5) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 15-6
No, we didn’t move up the Dons in front of Torrey Pines after their win in the California Challenge semifinals. Still, it was their first win over the Falcons in the four-year career of head coach Juliana Evans. They also lost a match earlier in the event during pool play to Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth. Cathedral Catholic did show not just in its win over the Dons but also in a loss to national power Walton of Georgia in the tourney final that with Notre Dame-bound Lindsey Miller in the lineup and getting stronger that it definitely can win the SD Open crown and be a threat for the CIF Open Division state title.
6. (6) Central (Fresno) 29-3
We got to check out the Grizzlies for part of their home match last Thursday vs. Clovis. It wasn’t much of a test and other than Buchanan in its league there probably isn’t much of threat to them in the CIF Central Section Division I playoffs. Head coach Randy Burriss commented that he really hopes that this year his team will be in the CIF Division I state playoffs and not in the Open Division. “We had to go to Marymount last year,” he said. Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, it might be even further this year to San Diego. The best case scenario is to hope for upsets in San Diego and the CIFSS so Central could at least get a top four seed and a home match in that SoCal Open Division.
7. (8) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 22-2
Strength of schedule and computer rankings for the Wildcats aren’t that good, but we know the players who are still around from a squad that last year played and lost to eventual CIF Open Division state champion Archbishop Mitty in the NorCal Open Division final. They also are top-ranked in the SportStars Magazine NorCal Top 20.
8. (14) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 23-5
Head coach Margi Beima’s girls improved to 7-0 in the mighty West Catholic Athletic League with a 3-0 sweep of San Jose Presentation on Tuesday. The Irish also have opened up a cushion of two games in league standings. This included another win last week against Archbishop Mitty.
9. (NR) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 28-9
Which team should be fourth behind Redondo, Mater Dei and Marymount in the CIFSS has been a tricky proposition all season long. The section’s own ranking this week shows the Trailblazers in that position and we’ll agree, especially after a win at the California Challenge over state-ranked Cathedral Catholic. We had been simply putting them on the bubble due to some head-to-head losses.
10. (7) La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 18-5
The Mavericks won their pool at the California Challenge and lost their only match of the weekend to Sierra Canyon. For this week’s rankings, they simply drop down behind the Trailblazers. They remain a solid top three team in San Diego.
11. (10) Westlake (Westlake Village) 29-1
We’re no longer going to keep the Warriors behind Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks due to losing the first game of the season to the Knights. Their lack of having any wins against some of the other leading teams in the CIFSS top division, however, is a problem and prevents a move upward this week.
12. (NR) Rancho Cucamonga 24-5
It was a great weekend for the Cougars at the California Challenge. Head coach Aaron Flores’ squad won its pool, got a win in the championship bracket against previous state No. 17 San Juan Hills and suffered its only loss of the weekend to a Walton of Georgia team that was preseason No. 1 in the nation to start.
13. (12) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 21-8
Since the last rankings, the Mustangs have posted a win against league rival Palos Verdes, but they dropped a spot to make room for Sierra Canyon, Rancho Cucamonga and San Francisco Sacred Heart. They moved in front of Harvard-Westlake and Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks.
14. (13) St. Francis (Sacramento) 23-3
It was a 3-0 sweep by the Troubadours on Tuesday over a Pleasant Grove of Elk Grove team that was 19-2. The team did suffer a loss to Pittman of Turlock in an early Saturday morning match at the Oak Ridge tourney, but came back to win the tourney title.
15. (16) Village Christian (Sun Valley) 21-7
The Crusaders still haven’t lost since they topped Archbishop Mitty, Lakewood and Sierra Canyon at the Durango Fall Classic. Sierra Canyon still has come up despite that loss for its showing in more recent weeks, but Village Christian also still should get some credit as well.
16. (NR) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 18-6
Jayde Harris had 17 kills and Molly Wilson had 28 assists as the Broncos earned a big win on Monday in the wild-and-wacky Southwestern League over previous No. 20 Temecula Valley. Head coach Ed Taitano’s club, which was in the top 10 last month, also won last week against Murrieta Valley.
17. (19) Great Oak (Temecula) 15-5
Also from the Southwestern League of the CIFSS, the Wolf Pack kept near the top of the standings with a win last week over Chaparral of Temecula. Great Oak lost to Vista Murrieta in the first round of league standings but still has one game left vs. the Broncos.
18. (18) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 20-5
The Jackrabbits, who lead the Moore League over Lakewood but still have to play the Lancers again in that league, notched a 3-2 win over St. Joseph of Lakewood over the weekend to win the championship at the Steve Lewis Memorial Volleyfest. It’s named in honor of the late Jackrabbits’ head coach, who we got to know as the father of LB Poly QB Chris Lewis in 1999-2000.
19. (NR) Buchanan (Clovis) 25-7
Despite a loss to La Jolla Country Day in the final game of a busy weekend, we’re going to put the Bears back into the State Top 20. Their overall showing at the California Challenge was solid, including wins against San Juan Hills and Lakewood. They also have a head-to-head win over Sierra Canyon.
20. (11) Harvard-Westlake (N. Hollywood) 22-9
The two losses from last week were to No. 1 Redondo and No. 3 Marymount and the Marymount scores — 25-18, 21-25, 36-34, 25-19 — were more than respectable. Watch out for the Wolverines in the upcoming CIFSS playoffs as an upset special.
Previous No. 9 Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks; No. 15 Foothill (Tustin); No. 17 San Juan Hills (San Juan Capistrano); No. 20 Temecula Valley (Temecula).
On The Bubble
Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 12-5
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 14-6-1
Foothill (Tustin) 20-5
James Logan (Union City) 20-7
La Jolla Country Day 18-12
Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 13-7
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks 12-7
Palo Alto 14-3
Ponderosa (Shingle Springs) 23-2
San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 14-7
Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 18-12
St. Francis (Mountain View) 21-9
St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 18-8
St. Joseph (Lakewood) 25-5
Temecula Valley (Temecula) 14-8