Playoffs are already underway in the CIF Southern Section where the top four seeds in Division I are No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and now No. 6 in the state. Changes for this week’s rankings mainly come from previous No. 6 Central of Fresno losing to Buchanan of Clovis in its league plus new No. 20 James Logan of Union City winning the Stockton Classic crown.
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(Previous rank in parentheses)
(After matches of Tuesday, Oct. 16)
1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 34-2
Head coach Dan O’Dell’s girls are playing Great Oak of Temecula on Thursday in their first CIF Southern Section Division I playoff match. The Monarchs are the top seed based on having a head-to-head win over Redondo Union. They are hoping to win their second straight title.
2. (2) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 32-2
A win against arch-rival Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach closed the regular season for the Seahawks. They have one of the most interesting first-round CIFSS D1 playoff matches on Thursday since they are going up against 34-1 Westlake of Westlake Village.
3. (3) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 28-3
San Diego still has one week to go for its regular season before the playoffs start. The Falcons should be the top seed in the Open Division and like Mater Dei and Redondo are in the top 10 of the Flo50 national rankings.
4. (4) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 26-6
The Dons completed their regular season on Tuesday with a sweep of University City and will now wait for the CIF San Diego Section Open Division pairings. Whether their recent win over Torrey Pines gives them the top seed or Torrey Pines’ overall season record is viewed as superior doesn’t really matter. The two are favored to be the top two seeds and therefore would project to play each other in the section final and then both also should go to the CIF SoCal Open Division bracket.
5. (5) Marymount (Los Angeles) 29-8
Losing in a league match to Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks last week didn’t impact the Sailors’ CIFSS placement as the No. 3 seed in the D1 playoffs and it doesn’t impact their state ranking, either. Basically, everyone knows the team’s abilities at full strength. Marymount plays Lakewood on Thursday in the first round.
6. (9) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 31-9
With Michigan-bound May Petrofsky leading the way, the Trailblazers capped another unbeaten run through the Gold Coast League and now have won 36 straight league matches. They also were given the No. 4 seed for the CIFSS D1 playoffs so they also move up to sixth in this week’s rankings. Teams in the No. 6, No. 7 and No. 8 slots from NorCal last week all took losses. Sierra Canyon has a tough match on Thursday in the first round vs. local rival Harvard-Westlake.
7. (12) Rancho Cucamonga 26-5
If the Cougars win their first-round CIFSS D1 match on Thursday vs. Temecula Valley of Temecula, they would then perhaps face Sierra Canyon in the quarterfinals. That would essentially be a No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup, although keep in mind in the CIFSS that only the top four teams in any bracket in any sport are seeded and that the rest of the bracket is built according to criteria such as teams from the same league not facing each other in certain rounds. Still, the loser of the CIFSS No. 4 seed quarterfinal match has gone on to win the last two CIF Division I state championships.
8. (10) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 26-6
The Broncos won their match last week against Murrieta Valley, but will have to be on the road for Thursday’s first-round CIFSS D1 playoff match vs. San Juan Hills. It’s always hard to win on the road in that bracket.
9. (8) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 25-6
Yes, this is the highest we can get a NorCal team in the State Top 20. It’s just frankly so far at least looking like a much weaker year in the north than usual. The Irish lost last week in a match to league rival Valley Christian but already had wrapped up the round-robin crown. They will be trying to win the WCAL playoff crown this week.
10. (6) Central (Fresno) 33-4
We’re still going to rank the Grizzlies higher than league rival Buchanan even though the two will now likely share the Tri-River Athletic Conference title due to Buchanan getting a win over them last week. Central won at home over the Bears earlier this season and is the defending CIF Central Section D1 champion.
11. (11) Westlake (Westlake Village) 34-1
It’s been a challenge ranking the Warriors all season with their lack of games in any of the top tournaments. We weren’t sure how they would be seeded in the CIFSS D1 playoffs and they were seeded with a first-round matchup against one of the super three, in their case Redondo. We don’t drop teams in the rankings, either, if the seeds don’t match. The results will take care of that.
12. (7) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 28-3
We may have jinxed the Wildcats by running Harold Abend’s short feature story about them on Friday night. They headed to the Stockton Classic the next morning and lost a match to Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland. We’re still ranking the Wildcats higher than Stockton Classic winner James Logan due to a head-to-head win, but it does have the look of it being a wide open NorCal Open Division bracket this year.
13. (14) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 23-9
There’s not much of a change for the Mustangs this week after their loss to No. 2 Redondo to close the regular season. They’re still viewed as a dangerous foe for anyone to face in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. Costa’s first playoff match is Thursday vs. Long Beach Poly.
14. (15) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 28-7
We’ll go ahead and place the Jackrabbits right behind the team they are playing on Thursday in the first round of the CIFSS Division I playoffs (Mira Costa). The winner of that match moves on for a likely quarterfinal contest vs. top seed Mater Dei.
15. (17) Buchanan (Clovis) 29-7
Mikayla Weiss had 44 assists while Lexi Pagani (12 kills) and Ashley Dittmann (11 kills) shined up front during the Bears’ win at home last week over previous No. 6 Central of Fresno. They followed up with a win against Clovis East and end the regular season at Clovis North.
16. (18) Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 24-9
In the last month, head coach Hayley Blanchard’s girls have lost their only two matches to nationally ranked powers Redondo Union and Walton of Marietta, Ga. They also have posted an avenging win vs. Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. Simply put, it’s going to be a great match between them and Sierra Canyon in Thursday’s CIFSS D1 playoffs.
17. (20) Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 21-12
We snuck in the Eagles at No. 20 last week partly because they had a head-to-head win over Foothill of Tustin. Well, this week Foothill is right behind and that’s also the opponent the Eagles will need to beat on Thursday to move on in the CIFSS D1 playoffs.
18. (NR) Foothill (Tustin) 21-3
Two of the Knights’ losses were to Mater Dei and the other was to Santa Margarita. There have been some other quality wins, but since the Dave Mohs tourney early in the season the schedule hasn’t been too difficult.
19. (19) Village Christian (Sun Valley) 29-9
This team has enough quality wins to be higher in the rankings than several of those in the CIFSS D1 playoffs. The Crusaders aren’t in that bracket, though, and they aren’t in D2, either. They are in D3 and they are the top seed. Because of being D3, if they end up in D2 for the CIF SoCal regional bracket, this is a CIF state title favorite.
20. (NR) James Logan (Union City) 28-7
Playing as strong a schedule as possible may pay off for the Colts in the upcoming NCS and NorCal playoffs. They break into the State Top 20 after winning the Stockton Classic title last Saturday 25-23, 20-25 and 15-8 over Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland in the final. O’Dowd got a win earlier in the day over previous state No. 7 Marin Catholic. MVP Taumafa Tuinauvai led the way with 16 kills and 12 digs. For these rankings, two of Logan’s losses in those SoCal tourneys were to Santa Margarita and Village Christian. The Colts have replaced previous No. 16 St. Francis of Sacramento, which also lost to O’Dowd at the Stockton Classic.
Previous No. 13 La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad); No. 16 St. Francis (Sacramento).
On The Bubble
Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 16-6
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 25-6
Canyon Crest (San Diego) 20-13
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 24-11
Dana Hills (Dana Point) 25-6
Foothill (Pleasanton) 24-5
Great Oak (Temecula) 22-8
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 24-9
Los Altos 22-6
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks 19-8
Palo Alto 16-4
Ponderosa (Shingle Springs) 26-2
San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 16-7
Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 19-11
St. Francis (Sacramento) 29-4
St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 24-12
St. Joseph (Lakewood) 27-6
Temecula Valley (Temecula) 17-9