You could argue that there will be two separate No. 1 vs. No. 2 state showdowns on Saturday in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division and CIF Southern Section Division I championships. Officially, according to these rankings, it will be No. 1 Torrey Pines vs. No. 3 Cathedral Catholic in San Diego and No. 2 Redondo vs. No. 4 Mater Dei in the Southern Section. All four, though, plus No. 5 Marymount (which lost a tough match to Mater Dei in the CIFSS semifinals), seem very capable of winning it all this year in California (and nationally). This week’s rankings reflect those matchups, but there are new teams down below, led by new No. 17 Esperanza of Anaheim.
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(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through reported results of Wednesday, Nov. 6)
1. (1) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 35-2
The Falcons cruised past Bishop’s of La Jolla 3-0 on Wednesday night in the CIF San Diego Section Open Division semifinals. If they were to get past Cathedral Catholic in Saturday’s championship, knowing how the CIF has treated head-to-head results in the past, and if Redondo were to win the CIFSS D1 title, the head-to-head win that Torrey Pines has against the Sea Hawks would figure to be the difference in getting the top seed for next week’s CIF Southern California Open Division playoffs.
2. (2) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 33-3
Reaching their first CIFSS D1 final since 2015, the Sea Hawks swept three sets against previous No. 6 Sierra Canyon in last Saturday’s semifinals. Redondo had trouble in the second set (25-23), but won more comfortably in the other two (25-15 and 25-19). They will face No. 4 Mater Dei in this Saturday’s championship at Cerritos College. Those two met early in the season on Redondo’s home court and it was a 3-2 win for the Sea Hawks.
3. (4) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 30-4
It wasn’t quite as easy for the Dons in their San Diego Open Division match on Wednesday night as it was for Torrey Pines. They did win, as expected, against No. 3 seed La Costa Canyon, but the Mavericks managed to win the second set 25-20 before Cathedral Catholic turned it on in the third and fourth sets.
4. (5) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 29-4
The CIF also tends to like defending champions in its regional playoff seedings so if the Monarchs can follow up their big win over previous No. 4 Marymount in the CIFSS D1 semis with a win against No. 2 Redondo in the final it could be them getting the SoCal Open top seed. Mater Dei, which also is the defending CIF Open Division state champion and is looking to reach the state final for the third straight year, was led by Mia Tuaniga with 26 assists. Four different Monarchs — Reagan Merk, Lauren Tarnoff, Zaria Henderson and Meg Brown — all had 10 kills.
5. (4) Marymount (Los Angeles) 32-4
Reversing two results from earlier this season at the Durango Fall Classic and Nike TOC, the Sailors lost this time to Mater Dei in the CIFSS D1 semifinals. It was a 3-1 win for the Monarchs but it was a close match with scores of 25-18, 22-25, 26-24 and 25-19. Marymount will still be in the CIF SoCal Open Division and will likely be the fifth seed, probably playing the loser of the Torrey Pines-Cathedral Catholic title game matchup in San Diego.
6. (7) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 33-3
Kari Geissberger racked up 21 kills as the Wildcats topped league rival Redwood of Larkspur 3-1 on Wednesday night in the CIF North Coast Section D2 semifinals. Marin Catholic will go for its sixth straight section crown on Saturday against Carondelet of Concord. The Wildcats are strong favorites and would then be expected to be the No. 1 seed for the CIF NorCal Open Division.
7. (6) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 34-3
Losing to a team like Redondo in the CIFSS D1 semifinals wouldn’t usually result in any kind of rankings drop, but the Trailblazers do have a head-to-head loss to Marin Catholic at the Durango tourney so it makes sense that those two teams would flip spots. And as a CIFSS D1 semifinalist, that also means that it’s automatic that Sierra Canyon will be in the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs. A six seed is just about a guarantee as well, but will that be in a six-team bracket or one with additional CIFSS teams included?
8. (8) Foothill (Tustin) 25-6
In the three previous years of the CIF Open Division, there have been no first-round byes and issuing them seems like a poison pill for the CIF itself. But for this year, it’s clear that the two winners of Saturday’s section finals in the CIFSS and in San Diego deserve first-round byes in the SoCal Open Division. Who else could realistically be brought up to the Open Division to play, too? Taking Clovis North out of the NorCal Open and sending it south doesn’t make sense, either. The NorCal Open already lacks a lot of depth compared to the south. Foothill would be the next team in line and if the CIF really wants to fill up that eight-team bracket it would figure to be one of the teams playing in it.
9. (9) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 18-7
We think the Mustangs are in the same boat as Foothill. They were third at the Nike TOC, which is why they are still in the state top 10. They lost in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals to Mater Dei and there’s nothing much wrong with that.
10. (11) St. Francis (Sacramento) 35-2
There were some upsets in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 playoffs (such as Gregori of Modesto beating Rocklin), but the Troubadours are in Saturday’s final against Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills. St. Francis, which was moved back in front of Clovis North this week since we think it would be seeded higher in the NorCal Open Division due to a head-to-head win, won in the semifinals earlier this week 3-1 over Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove.
11. (10) Clovis North (Fresno) 39-3
Unlike the other sections in the state, the CIF Central Section wasn’t done with its semifinal round of section playoffs by Wednesday night. The Broncos are in the semifinals, taking place Thursday, and will go up against a Clovis West team that arguably could have been seeded second based on its recent second-place finish at the Redondo Power Classic. If Clovis North wins, it would play either No. 2 seed Liberty of Bakersfield or No. 4 Arroyo Grande in Saturday’s championship.
12. (12) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 26-5
The Irish have advanced to the title game on Saturday in the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division with a victory in the semifinals over St. Francis of Mountain View. They were the top seed and will meet league rival and No. 2 seed Archbishop Mitty of San Jose in the championship.
13. (13) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 20-11
The Broncos lost to No. 5 Marymount in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals. They almost went up in this week’s rankings, though, since a team from their Southwestern League, Murrieta Valley, has made it to the CIFSS D2 championship. Vista Murrieta went 9-1 and won that Southwestern League title.
14. (16) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 27-7
Michelle Ohwobete had another big night with 20 kills as the Dragons advanced to the CIF North Coast Section D1 final with a 3-0 win in the semifinals over a Monte Vista of Danville squad that has been in the State Top 20 this season. O’Dowd, which hasn’t lost a set yet in the postseason, will play new No. 19 Campolindo of Moraga in Saturday’s championship.
15. (18) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 28-10
The Monarchs did their part on their side of the CCS Open Division bracket to reach the championship match against Sacred Heart Cathedral. Previous No. 15 Palo Alto lost in its first CCS Open match to Menlo-Atherton, which then fell to Mitty in the semifinals.
16. (14) Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 20-5
Since the CIFSS D1 bracket pairings came out, we’ve had the top eight team in it all ranked in the state. The Wolverines would still be the eighth team among that group. They lost in the quarterfinals to No. 2 Redondo.
17. (NR) Esperanza (Anaheim) 22-5
It will be the Aztecs going up against Murrieta Valley in the title game of the CIFSS Division 2 playoffs. When we last checked on them, the Aztecs were getting ready to play 24-5 Westlake of Westlake Village in a delayed quarterfinal match. They beat the Warriors and then in the semifinals got past a Bishop Montgomery of Torrance squad that had beaten San Juan Hills in its previous match.
18. (NR) Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 24-6
Since finishing 5-5 in the Southwestern League (the league won by No. 13 Vista Murrieta), the Nighthawks have caught fire in the CIFSS D2 playoffs. They have defeated in consecutive order Burroughs of Burbank, Los Alamitos (ranked earlier this year), Santa Margarita (from the same league as Mater Dei) and Rancho Cucamonga (previous No. 17 in last week’s rankings).
19. (NR) Campolindo (Moraga) 24-5
The Cougars started the season 2-3, but since then have only lost twice and one of those losses was to No. 1 Torrey Pines. Head coach John Vuong’s club, swept a three-game match over James Logan of Union City in the NCS D1 semifinals and will meet No. 14 Bishop O’Dowd in the final. Campo will be trying to avenge an early season loss to the Dragons.
20. (NR) Pleasant Valley (Chico) 32-1
Head coach John Mitchell’s squad continues to roll in the CIF Northern Section and will play Chico in Saturday’s D2 championship. The big question will remain if the Vikings will be going up to the NorCal Open Division. Historically, you wouldn’t put a Northern Section team in the Open, but the Vikings didn’t exactly just beat up on local teams from their section this season, either. They proved they are a NorCal Open team and should embrace the experience.
Previous No. 15 Palo Alto; No. 17 Rancho Cucamonga; No. 19 La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad).
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
Arroyo Grande 27-4
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 26-6
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 28-10
Clovis West (Fresno) 24-9
Huntington Beach 20-9
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 28-14
Laguna Beach 30-10
Liberty (Bakersfield) 25-5
Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 26-8
Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 23-6
Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 41-10
Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 30-8
Palo Alto 19-7
Rancho Cucamonga 22-10
San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 22-9
St. Francis (Mountain View) 26-12
Westlake (Westlake Village) 24-6