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SBLive's California Top 20 girls volleyball rankings: Southern Section playoffs are here

With nine divisions, there is something compelling to watch at every level
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In the Southern Section, the regular season has concluded and teams have been selected for the playoffs. 

Most eyes are on the top eight chosen for Division 1 and there is excitement and trepidation about the new pool format. 

SS Division 1 will no longer use the common single-elimination bracket format. Instead, there are two seeded pools and the winners of each four-team, three-match pool will advance to the championship match.

The top eight are Mira Costa-Manhattan Beach, Sierra Canyon-Chatsworth, Marymount-Los Angeles, Mater Dei-Santa Ana, Lakewood, Newport Harbor-Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, and Palos Verdes-Palos Verdes Estates.

Teams that missed that cutoff went into Division 2 or lower. 

In an exciting Division 2, top seeds are Redondo Union-Redondo Beach, Vista Murrieta-Murrieta, Santa Margarita-Rancho Santa Margarita and Aliso Niguel-Aliso Viejo. Bishop Alemany-Mission Hills is the top seed in Division 3.

In other sections, fierce league races are entering the home stretch. In the most competitive high-level loops, Clovis East-Clovis leads the Tri-Valley League, San Ramon Valley-Danville heads the East Bay Athletic League, and Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills is in first place in the Sierra Foothill League.

SBLive California Top 20 Girls Volleyball Rankings (records through Oct. 15)

1. Cathedral Catholic-San Diego (San Diego Section, 33-0 overall record, No. 1 last week)
Three more sweeps for the Dons. Still have not dropped a set all season. A test comes this week against Torrey Pines.

2. Mira Costa (Southern Section, 33-3, No. 2 LW)
Swept Bay League rematch at home against rival Redondo 25-18, 25-19, 24-26, 25-15. Drew Wright blasted 15 kills and Tanon Rosenthal and Chloe Hynes added 11 each. Fisher Gym was standing room only on the Mustangs side and 2020 Olympics Beach Volleyball gold medalist Alix Klineman, a Costa ‘2007 alum, was watching.

3. Marymount (SS, 29-6, No. 3 LW)
Alemany was hyped and took the first set in the Mission League battle but road warrior Sailors rolled thereafter, winning 23-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-21. Torrey Stafford led the way with 20 kills, Kate Martin added 14 and Dior Charles contributed 13. Lauren Brooker dished off for 49 assists and Alex Trapani had 26 digs.

4. Sierra Canyon (SS, 29-4, No. 4 LW)
Julia Babcock and the Trailblazers are the dark horse in the Southern Section Division 1 playoffs. They lost to both Costa and Marymount but also beat both.

5. St. Francis-Mountain View (Central Coast Section, 25-0, No. 5 LW)
Lancers lead competitive West Catholic Athletic League by a game over Archbishop Mitty-San Jose in quest for first WCAL title since 2010. Last week’s four-set win over feisty Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco marked the third lost set all year and first to a NorCal opponent – but coach Lake Merchen played supporting players rather than the first string for most of that first set.

6. Palos Verdes (SS, 19-5, No. 6 LW)
Kill leader Kaci Demaria, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, led Sea Kings to second place in tough Bay League.

7. Lakewood (SS, 27-6, No. 7 LW)
Lancers passed road test at Harvard-Westlake by sweeping Wolverine 25-20, 25-18, 25-20.

8. Redondo Union (SS, 25-11, No. 8 LW)
Young Sea Hawks feature 14 underclassmen on 19-player roster. Freshman Abby Zimmerman is a star in the making.

9. Mater Dei (SS, 27-8, No. 9 LW)
Monarchs bounced Santa Margarita-Rancho Santa Margarita 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 behind 14 kills from Isabel Clark.

10. Torrey Pines-San Diego (SDS, 23-6, No. 11 LW)
Falcons face a challenging week, with road matches at Cathedral Catholic and La Costa Canyon.

11. Archbishop Mitty (CCS, 23-6, No. 12 LW) 
Mitty’s six defeats are all against teams ranked in top eight here: St. Francis three times, Cathedral Catholic, Redondo and Mater Dei. Monarchs are pointing for St. Francis in league finale home matchup on Wednesday, October 26.

12. San Clemente (SS, 22-9, No. 13 LW)
Tritons got revenge against Aliso Niguel with 25-20, 26-24, 25-13 win. That produced a three-way logjam at the top of the South Coast League standings with those two and San Juan Hills-San Juan Capistrano.

13. Monte Vista-Danville (NCS, 23-4, No. 15 LW)
Carondelet-Concord is down a notch this year but a sweep in the Cougars’ bandbox home gym is never easy and Mustangs rolled 25-16, 25-16, 25-21.

14. Bishop Alemany (SS, 20-6, No. 16 LW)
Warriors are perhaps the best team off everyone’s radar. At home, they grabbed the first set from Marymount 25-23. Sailors took the next three 25-18, 25-18, 25-21 but those are tight scores for anyone.

15. San Ramon Valley-Danville (North Coast Section, 20-6, No. 19 LW)
Wolves are 10-1 in the competitive East Bay Athletic League after two road wins, a dominant 25-16 25-17, 25-16 victory over Amador Valley-Pleasanton and a five-set nailbiter over the Dublin Gaels. But SRV recently dropped four close tourney contests.

16. Clovis East (Central Section, 33-4, No. 17 LW)
Clovis East leads the Tri-River League with a 7-1 record, a game ahead of Clovis North-Fresno. But Timberwolves had a rough stumble at Clovis West-Fresno, falling 25-16, 25-14, 25-17.

17. Newport Harbor-Newport Beach (SS, 25-6, Not rated)
Sailors’ losses are to San Clemente, Los Alamitos, St. Francis, Torrey Pines, Orange Lutheran and Huntington Beach. And Newport Harbor got big revenge by sweeping HB Oilers last week.

18. Huntington Beach (SS, 25-5, No. 10 LW)
Rough week for the Oilers as they fell to second place in Sunset-Surf League standings, punctuated by being swept by Newport Harbor.

19. Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (San Joaquin Section, 25-4, No. 14 LW)
Trojans tumbled in four sets to Del Oro-Loomis, the last-place team at 2-6 in the Sierra Foothill League. But Oak Ridge drilled tough Whitney-Rocklin on road 25-18, 25-16, 28-26, with Elle Weaver ripping 14 kills and Emily Child adding 13.

20. Cypress (SS, 18-1, Not rated)
Centurions’ only loss was just 25-21, 25-18, 25-19 to Lakewood, who is looking stronger and stronger. Cypress has won 14 in a row and dropped just two sets in their last 11 wins.

On the bubble: Whitney-Rocklin (SJS), Clovis North-Fresno (CS), Etiwanda (SS), Liberty (CS), Santa Cruz (CCS), Santa Margarita-Rancho Santa Margarita (SS), Aliso Niguel (SS), Los Altos (CCS), Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton (CCS).

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