There was almost as big a development off the court as on it this week with the CIF breaking precedent and handing out byes for the Open Division in both Southern and Northern California. On the court, Wednesday’s first games of the Open Division saw new No. 4 Marymount upend No. 5 Cathedral Catholic plus new No. 12 Bishop O’Dowd knock off previous No. 10 St. Francis of Sacramento.
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All-State Nominations: This year’s Cal-Hi Sports All-State Teams for girls volleyball will be drastically expanded. In the past, we’ve done a player of year, coach of year and then two teams of 12 players overall (1st & 2nd team). Starting this season, we will be honoring girls volleyball players for separate all-state teams for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, medium schools, small schools and large schools (similar to format for boys and girls hoops). Coaches & parents are welcome to send in nominations as the season begins to conclude and will be able to order all-state patches. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
(Through reported results of Wednesday, Nov. 13)
1. (1) Torrey Pines (San Diego) 36-2
Maya Satchell led the way with 10 kills as the Falcons topped Cathedral Catholic 25-19, 25-23 and 26-24 last Saturday to win their fifth CIF San Diego Section Open Division title in the last six years. The two rivals have probably thought about playing in this match since Torrey Pines won twice early in the season, but that was before the Dons won the Durango Fall Classic tourney and got their full lineup going. Torrey Pines is now the top seed for the CIF SoCal Open Division and will have to lose as a home team to be denied a spot in the CIF Open Division state championship. The Falcons will host No. 4 Marymount on Saturday in the regional semifinals.
2. (2) Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 34-3
Just like Torrey Pines lived up to its state and national ranking (in the FloSports top 50) in its section final, so did the Sea Hawks. They topped No. 3 Mater Dei 25-19, 25-16, 16-25, 25-21 last Saturday to win their first CIF Southern Section Division I championship since 2015. Redondo hasn’t been at full strength in some of its matches, but doesn’t seem to be missing a beat. We don’t know if there was an argument made in its behalf about players missing in order to be seeded No. 1 for the SoCal Open Division, but the CIF obviously went by that earlier head-to-head result and gave the nod to Torrey Pines. That’s kind of like how we do rankings. Redondo will play next on Saturday in the regional semifinals and ironically will have to beat Mater Dei again. Both teams got byes for this week’s first round.
3. (4) Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 29-5
Sure, there has to be disappointment that the Monarchs didn’t get a third straight CIFSS D1 title. But other than having to win twice on the road, it’s still right there for head coach Dan O’Dell’s team to go all the way and even make a claim at the mythical national title. The Monarchs will try to reverse not just the CIFSS loss to Redondo from last Saturday, but another one from earlier in the season during Saturday’s Open Division regional semifinals. They haven’t played Torrey Pines yet this season but could meet the Falcons if they can get past Redondo. Mater Dei’s national claim is based on having a win over Assumption of Louisville, Ky., which handed the only loss to current MaxPreps national No. 1 New Castle of Indiana. In our book, if either Torrey Pines or Redondo goes all the way in California this year, than either one should be No. 1 in the nation. Mater Dei wouldn’t be as certain, but Southern California teams were even more dominant against top teams from other states this year than they usually are.
4. (5) Marymount (Los Angeles) 33-4
The Sailors played Cathedral Catholic on Wednesday in the CIF SoCal Open Division playoffs and posted a 3-1 win. That was a matchup between two of the state’s top five for just about the entire season so now we’re down to just four of those five still alive for the final prize, which would be the CIF Open Division state title. The CIF, to its credit, didn’t force any other teams in Southern California to be among those five in the Open Division in the south, either. There were three byes and only one first-round game, which was the one played between Marymount and the Dons.
5. (4) Cathedral Catholic (San Diego) 30-5*
Since the last rankings, the Dons have lost twice, but those losses were to No. 1 Torrey Pines in the San Diego Section Open Division final and then to No. 4 Marymount in the CIF SoCal Open Division. The highlight of the season will now have to be winning the top divisional title at the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas in September.
6. (6) Marin Catholic (Kentfield) 34-3
As expected, the Wildcats won their sixth straight CIF North Coast Section D2 title last Saturday with a triumph against Carondelet of Concord. That made them an easy selection to be the top seed for the NorCal Open Division, which is a title they haven’t won yet. As in the south, there also were byes given by the CIF in the north. That means Marin Catholic isn’t playing an Open Division match until Saturday when the Wildcats will play No. 14 Archbishop Mitty in the regional semifinals. Mitty won the first two CIF Open Division state titles and has won 11 state titles in all under head coach Bret Almazan-Cezar.
7. (7) Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth) 35-3
We were glad and pleasantly surprised to see the CIF finally go for byes in an Open Division regional bracket. But we were not expecting at all for a CIFSS D1 semifinalist to be missing from the Open Division. That has been the norm not just for girls volleyball, but boys and girls basketball as well. Sierra Canyon was that semifinalist, and has been top 20 in the nation. So for a team like that to be D1 and not Open Division was a jolt. The Trailblazers obviously become a big favorite to win the state title in their division. They began their regional quest on Tuesday night with a 3-0 win over CIFSS D2 champion Esperanza of Anaheim and will play next on Thursday this week in the quarterfinals against Long Beach Poly.
8. (8) Foothill (Tustin) 26-6
The Knights were one of those teams that was fretting last Sunday’s regional pairings being announced due to the possibility of being in the SoCal Open Division. The good news is that they were placed in D1, but it might be bad news that Sierra Canyon also is D1. Foothill won its first-round regional match on Tuesday at home vs. Laguna Beach 3-0 and will play next on Thursday this week in the quarterfinals against Aliso Niguel.
9. (9) Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach) 19-7
We’re going against the CIF seedings by having the Mustangs in this state ranking position. In the SoCal D1 bracket, they are fourth and not third. We just like some of their out-of-state wins, especially the one over Georgia state champion and national powerhouse Walton of Marietta. Costa won its first-round SoCal D1 match on Tuesday against La Jolla. That put the team opposite Vista Murrieta for Thursday’s regional quarterfinals.
10. (12) Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 27-5
Like No. 1 seed Marin Catholic, the No. 2 seeded Irish also got a bye in the first round of the CIF NorCal Open Division. In their case, they will be playing No. 11 Bishop O’Dowd in Saturday’s regional semifinals after the Dragons upset No. 3 seed St. Francis of Sacramento on Wednesday night. Last Saturday, SHC topped league rival Archbishop Mitty for the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division title.
11. (13) Vista Murrieta (Murrieta) 21-11
A 3-1 victory over La Jolla Country Day advanced the Broncos to a Thursday match against No. 9 Mira Costa in the CIF SoCal D1 playoffs. It’s also a No. 4 vs. No. 5 seed contest with the winner likely playing Sierra Canyon in the regional semifinals on Saturday.
12. (14) Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland) 29-7
The Dragons were one of the big stories on Wednesday night as they traveled to Sacramento to take on previous No. 10 and NorCal No. 3 seed St. Francis of Sacramento and put up a 3-0 sweep of the Troubadours. O’Dowd, which won the NCS D1 title last Saturday over Campolindo and has a win over Marin Catholic, will have to beat Sacred Heart Cathedral of San Francisco on Saturday in the regional semifinals to perhaps get a chance to face the Wildcats next Tuesday for the NorCal Open Division title.
13. (10) St. Francis (Sacramento) 36-3*
The season ended for the Troubadours on Wednesday night with their loss to O’Dowd in the NorCal Open Division playoffs. They had won the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section D1 title last Saturday against Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills. It’s not like the team didn’t prepare for top Bay Area competition. It did go to the Stockton Classic late in the regular season, which draws some of the best Bay Area teams.
14. (15) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) 29-11
One of the other surprising moves by the CIF in determining this year’s Open Divisions was only having six teams in the north and giving first-round byes to both Marin Catholic and Sacred Heart Cathedral. It was surprising only in that it bucked recent CIF playoffs. Mitty looked like an Open Division team after reaching the CCS Open finals (where it lost to SHC) and played on Wednesday night in a first-round matchup at home vs. league rival St. Francis of Mountain View. THe Monarchs topped the Lancers 3-0 and will now play top seed Marin Catholic on the road on Saturday.
15. (16) Aliso Niguel (Aliso Viejo) 21-5
The trick for these teams like Aliso Niguel, which lost in the CIFSS D1 quarterfinals, is to continue to practice for two weeks and stay sharp knowing that future games in several weeks will happen in a frenzy. For the Wolverines, they opened the SoCal D1 playoffs on Tuesday with a 3-0 triumph over Del Norte of San Diego. They booked a trip to nearby Foothill of Tustin for Thursday evening’s second round.
16. (NR) Long Beach Poly (Long Beach) 27-8
The Jackrabbits are a team that has been in these rankings earlier in the season. They’re back after traveling to Bakersfield on Tuesday to face CIF Central Section D1 runner-up Liberty of Bakersfield and beating the Patriots in straight sets. Poly will be on the road again on Thursday night to face a much tougher foe, top seed Sierra Canyon, but at least the drive won’t be over the Grapevine.
17. (NR) Clovis West (Fresno) 26-9
One of the reasons there was only six teams in the NorCal Open Division is that the Golden Eagles upset season-long leader Clovis North in the CIF Central Section D1 semifinals. We think if Clovis North had not lost it would have been in the NorCal Open. The Golden Eagles then won the section title over Liberty of Bakersfield. They swept Valley Christian of San Jose on Tuesday in the NorCal D1 bracket and will play Notre Dame of Belmont on Thursday in the second round.
18. (19) Campolindo (Moraga) 24-6
Yes, we know we’re going against the NorCal seeds with Clovis West higher than either Campo or No. 2 seed Menlo-Atherton. It’s just that we wanted to more recognize Clovis West’s big win over previous No. 11 Clovis North. The Cougars were seeded No. 1 in the NorCal D1 bracket after finishing as runner-up to Bishop O’Dowd in the NCS D1 playoffs. They had a bye for Tuesday’s first round and will play Clovis North at home on Thursday in the second round.
19. (17) Esperanza (Anaheim) 22-6*
If there was an award for a team that was screwed the most by the CIF regional seedings this year, then it clearly goes to the Aztecs. What did they get for winning the CIFSS D2 title? A No. 16 seed in SoCal D1 and a first-round match Tuesday at Sierra Canyon, a nationally ranked squad that easily could have been in the SoCal Open but instead got a top seed in D1 South. Of course, Esperanza lost to Sierra Canyon 3-0 and its season is over. Making the move to D1 South even more unfair is that the team the Aztecs beat in that CIFSS D2 final, Murrieta Valley, got the top seed in D2 South. So if Murrieta Valley goes on to win the CIF D2 state championship, will anyone remember what happened to Esperanza? There were byes in the NorCal D1 bracket so why couldn’t Sierra Canyon have gotten a bye and Esperanza also placed in D2 South with Murrieta Valley?
20. (11) Clovis North (Fresno) 40-4
The Broncos were 39-3 when they lost to league rival Clovis West in the CIF Central Section D1 semifinals. That was a team they had beaten twice earlier in the season. Clovis North also has wins over NorCal Open Division teams Mitty and St. Francis, but only got a No. 8 seed for the NorCal D1 playoffs. The team had to go to five sets to get past Carondelet on Tuesday in the first round and will have to travel to top seed Campolindo on Tuesday for the second round.
Previous No. 18 Murrieta Valley (Murrieta); No. 20 Pleasant Valley (Chico). Pleasant Valley didn’t lose and in fact won its section title. The good news for the Vikings is that they didn’t get moved up to the NorCal Open in a move that seemed possible given their 34-1 record. They were only seeded No. 5 in that NorCal bracket, though, which is why in their case they dropped some places in the state rankings and thus down from No. 20.
TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 27-6
Bishop’s (La Jolla) 28-11*
Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) 16-6
Eastlake (Chula Vista) 35-9
Huntington Beach 20-10*
La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad) 29-15
Laguna Beach 30-11*
Liberty (Bakersfield) 25-7*
Los Gatos 28-9
Menlo-Atherton (Atherton) 24-6
Murrieta Valley (Murrieta) 25-7
Nevada Union (Grass Valley) 43-10
Oak Ridge (El Dorado Hills) 30-10*
Palo Alto 20-7
Pleasant Valley (Chico) 34-1
Rancho Cucamonga 23-10
San Juan Hills (SJ Capistrano) 22-9*
St. Francis (Mountain View) 26-13*
Westlake (Westlake Village) 24-6*