For this week’s rankings, we have waited to finish them after Wednesday’s first-round of the CIF NorCal and CIF SoCal Open Division regional playoffs. The CIF made two moves with this year’s Open Division regional brackets that we believe have been a long time coming: putting the CIF Central Section teams in the north and putting more than four from the CIF Southern Section into the south. Winners on Wednesday night included No. 1 Mater Dei, No. 2 Torrey Pines, No. 3 Marymount, No. 4 Redondo, No. 6 Sacred Heart Cathedral and new No. 7 Buchanan of Clovis.
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(Previous rank in parentheses)
(After matches of Wednesday, Nov. 7)
*Indicates season complete.
1. (1) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 40-2
In their 3-1 victory last Saturday over Marymount of Los Angeles for the CIF Southern Section Division I title, the Monarchs were paced by Natalie Berty with 23 kills and Mia Tuaniga with 10 kills and 32 assists. They won their second straight CIFSS D1 crown and third in the last four years, but of course have been focused on going all the way this time and winning the CIF Open Division state title. Mater Dei opened the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs at home on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over Long Beach Poly. Next up will be the regional semifinals against Redondo Union.
2. (2) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 33-3
As expected, it wasn’t easy for the Falcons when they faced Cathedral Catholic in last Saturday’s CIF San Diego Section Open Division championship. They won 3-1 but scores were 25-18, 29-27, 20-25 and 25-22. Maddie Endsley had 25 kills and four blocks to pace the victors. Torrey Pines then went to the CIF SoCal Open Division as the No. 2 seed and on Wednesday won at home against San Juan Hills of San Juan Capistrano. The Falcons are hosting Marymount in the semifinals this Saturday.
3. (5) Marymount (Los Angeles) 33-9
It’s not a final four in the traditional sense but based on all results in the state so far this season it will be the top four teams in the state in Saturday’s CIF SoCal Open Division semifinals. The Sailors earned their spot with a win on Wednesday against Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth. With Devon Newberry playing this time, they were looking to beat Mater Dei in last Saturday’s CIFSS D1 finals but lost in four games. To get a possible rematch, Marymount will need to head to San Diego on Saturday and knock off No. 2 Torrey Pines.
4. (4) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 35-3
The Seahawks didn’t play last week since they had previously lost to Marymount in the CIFSS D1 semifinals. They still captured the fourth seed in the SoCal Open regional bracket, but had to play a Cathedral Catholic team that was seeded fifth and also has been in the top five of the state (even higher) once its lineup got healthy and fully eligible. Despite the layoff, Redondo impressed with a 25-10, 25-21, 25-20 victory.
5. (5) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 27-8*
Once there’s a NorCal Open Division champion, the Dons may drop a spot in the state rankings but not yet. They still have that win over national power Walton of Georgia and beat Torrey Pines recently. They just lost to Torrey Pines in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division final and they also lost on Wednesday night to Redondo Union in the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs.
6. (6) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 31-6
The Irish won their first CIF Central Coast Section title last Friday with a 19-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-12 win against arch-rival St. Ignatius in the CCS Open finals. It was the program’s first CCS title since 2011. SHC then got the No. 1 seed for the NorCal Open Division and advanced with another 3-2 win, this time on Wednesday over Ponderosa of Shingle Springs. Anyone hoping that the Open Division state final is going to be close and competitive probably would want to see the Irish not having to fight so hard in those matches.
7. (10) Buchanan (Clovis) 34-7
In state playoff brackets with eight teams in the north and eight in the south (with either Open or D1 formats), it’s taken many years for the CIF to begin to move the top team from the CIF Central Section into the north instead of the south. They finally did it for volleyball last Sunday with Buchanan going to the NorCal Open Division instead of being stuck in the south. The Bears earned their slot with a 26-24, 18-25, 25-13, 25-20 win over Central of Fresno in the Central Section D1 final. The Grizzlies were the defending champion had beaten Buchanan the first time the two played in league. Since then, Buchanan has won twice. On Wednesday, the Bears hosted Palo Alto and won and will now host state No. 9 Marin Catholic in Saturday’s regional semifinals.
8. (8) Central (Fresno) 37-5
After losing to Buchanan in their section final, the Grizzlies also were placed into the NorCal Open Division (which makes sense). They were only given the No. 5 seed and had to travel on Wednesday for an intriguing match against CIF North Coast Section D1 champion James Logan of Union City. Central won and will now have to travel again for the semifinals at top seed Sacred Heart Cathedral. In the last two seasons, head coach Randy Burriss has taken his girls to San Diego and now San Francisco for CIF Open Division playoff games. We’re pretty sure he prefers the northern direction.
9. (9) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 37-3
The Wildcats rolled to the CIF North Coast Section D3 title and then as expected were placed in the NorCal Open Division. They got the No. 3 seed behind Sacred Heart Cathedral and Buchanan. They probably were thinking they’d be either first or second (after all, they were in the NorCal Open final last season) so to get third was likely a disappointment. In Wednesday’s match, MC took on and defeated CCS Open Division runner-up St. Ignatius. Next up will be a trip to Clovis to play No. 2 seed Buchanan. Probably the reason Buchanan ended up with the No. 2 seed was that the team it beat in its section final (Central of Fresno) has been ranked higher than the Wildcats all season.
10. (8) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 33-11*
Like Redondo Union, which also lost in the CIFSS D1 semifinals, the Trailblazers didn’t play last week and then had the tough task of having to play at Marymount on Wednesday in the first round of the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs. They lost and therefore end the season with losses to Mater Dei and the Sailors. Still, reaching the CIFSS D1 semifinals is another step up for a program that was winning section and state titles in lower divisions.
11. (11) Foothill (Tustin) 23-4
No team from the CIF Southern Section D1 playoffs beyond the two finalists played at all last week. The Knights, who lost to Marymount of Los Angeles in the quarterfinals, easily could have been uplifted to the SoCal Open Division based on many of their season results, but they weren’t and instead started the CIF D1 South playoffs on Tuesday with a 3-1 triumph over La Jolla. They also weren’t even the No. 1 seed for that bracket (that went to Temecula Valley). We don’t change rankings based on seedings we don’t agree with and instead wait for the results to play out. Foothill plays its second-round match Thursday vs. Aliso Niguel of Aliso Viejo.
12. (13) Scripps Ranch (San Diego) 32-7
We will continue to keep the Falcons in the State Top 20 after their loss to No. 2 Torrey Pines in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division semifinals. They were named last Sunday at the No. 3 seed for the CIF SoCal D1 playoffs behind Temecula Valley and Foothill of Tustin and won their first-round match on Tuesday over St. Joseph of Lakewood.
13. (12) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 29-9*
The Jackrabbits and No. 15 San Juan Hills probably were both thinking they weren’t going to be in the CIF SoCal Open Division, but hopefully they got some warning. In the past, it’s only been the top four CIFSS teams (those in the D1 semifinals) that had been placed in the Open Division. Realistically, though, if the CIFSS wants to use competitive equity based playoff divisions (they do) then an obvious tradeoff is going to be more than four teams going to the Open Division of the state. There just aren’t that many teams from other sections even close to that level of play. Poly also had to play its Open Division match on Wednesday at No. 1 Mater Dei and lost in straight sets.
14. (15) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 23-10*
Despite 10 losses, Mira Costa has some solid wins and truly played a national schedule this season. It’s possible the Mustangs may end up having to drop for the final rankings to account for CIF D1 or CIF D2 state champion, but for now they are staying in. They are similar to Vista Murrieta in that they are a team that lost in the first round of the CIFSS D1 playoffs and no matter how strong of a schedule those teams play none of those first-round losers get to play on in the SoCal regional playoffs.
15. (16) San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 17-9*
For winning the league it was in and for getting that CIFSS D1 playoff win over Vista Murrieta, the Stallions are the next team in line for these rankings. They joined Long Beach Poly in the CIF SoCal Open Division and had to play at No. 2 Torrey Pines of San Diego. The host Falcons won and thus ended the season for San Juan Hills.
16. (18) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 26-7*
It must steam fans of the Broncos to see Temecula Valley getting the top seed for the CIF SoCal Division I playoffs when their team won the Southwestern League (Temecula Valley lost three times in league) by two games and their season has been over for two weeks. Vista Murrieta just couldn’t get out of the first round of the CIFSS D1 playoffs (loss to San Juan Hills on the road) while Temecula Valley was able to get past Rancho Cucamonga. Despite Temecula Valley’s seeding, we’re still going by league results and will continue to rank the Broncos higher.
17. (19) Village Christian (Sun Valley) 34-9
They say that the CIF uses competitive equity seeding for the SoCal regional playoffs, which is true, but there is a caveat. The state rarely will seed a team from a lower division of the CIF Southern Section over any team from the next highest division. So it’s not really a completely accurate competitive equity seeding. If it was, Village Christian, the CIFSS D2 champion, clearly would be in front of several if not all of the CIFSS D1 teams that are in the regional playoffs. The Crusaders opened the CIF SoCal D2 playoffs as the top seed on Tuesday and swept Eastlake of Chula Vista. They have a tough match on Thursday against bubble team Santa Fe Christian, which won the same league that includes Bishop’s of La Jolla (No. 6 seed in D1 South bracket).
18. (NR) Temecula Valley (Temecula) 20-7
Head coach Roberto Rodriguez’s squad opened the CIF D1 South playoffs on Tuesday as the top seed and defeated Canyon Crest of San Diego 3-0. Up next for the Golden Bears will be a second-round match on Thursday vs. Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks. We’re still ranking No. 2 seed Foothill (Tustin) higher as well as Southwestern League champion Vista Murrieta, but there’s also room this week to move up the Golden Bears much closer to the other two.
19. (14) James Logan (Union City) 32-8*
Since the last rankings, the Colts won the CIF North Coast Section D1 title and then went to the NorCal Open Division as the No. 4 seed. They might have been expecting higher, but dropped when the two CIF Central Section teams (Buchanan & Central) were put in the south. Logan then had to play one of those teams on Wednesday and fell to Central. Regardless, the willingness of head coach Matt Guzman to be in several major tournaments should be applauded. The payoff was winning the NCS D1 crown.
20. (20) Westlake (Westlake Village) 34-2*
We are leaving in the Warriors at the No. 20 spot. They had a terrific regular season and while the schedule wasn’t that tough we’d still rank them higher than a lot of teams with double-digit loss totals on their record. Westlake lost in the first round of the CIFSS D1 playoffs to Redondo.
Previous No. 19 St. Francis (Sacramento).
On The Bubble
Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 17-8
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 22-16
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 24-10
Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 31-6
Campolindo (Moraga) 27-8
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 24-13*
Foothill (Pleasanton) 29-6
Great Oak (Temecula) 22-9*
Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 24-10*
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 26-10
Laguna Beach 19-13
Los Alamitos 25-13
Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) 27-8
Palo Alto 24-6*
Pleasant Valley (Chico) 30-6
Ponderosa (Shingle Springs) 31-3*
Rancho Cucamonga 26-6*
San Clemente 28-9*
Santa Fe Christian (Solana Beach) 27-11
Santa Margarita (Rancho SM) 21-13*
St. Francis (Sacramento) 33-5
St. Ignatius (San Francisco) 27-15*