Orange County figures to be a major player in the major division as the Southern Section playoffs get under way Tuesday, but the teams that are favored to win the section’s marquee girls’ volleyball title are from elsewhere, Harvard-Westlake and Long Beach Poly. Can those two schools hold serve, or will there be bumps along the way?
This division is filled with all kinds of bumps.
Division I-AA: The great thing about having the best teams in the same division is the big games start early in the bracket. The four seeded teams – Harvard-Westlake (24-2), Long Beach Poly (31-2), Los Alamitos (26-5) and Newport Harbor (20-11) – have a journey littered with threats beginning in the second round. The Trinity League finished in a three-way tie for first place: Los Al was taken to five games earlier this season by Mater Dei and they could face each other in the second round. H-W could face Santa Margarita in the quarterfinals, while Orange Lutheran could face Newport. The one clear advantage belongs to Poly, which has a first-round bye and misses the Trinity League until the semifinals. Anyone looking for a solid first-round match might check out wild-card Huntington Beach at Santa Margarita.
Division I-A: The big attraction here is that third-seeded Corona del Mar (19-6) is aligned for another postseason match against Redlands East Valley (25-4). REV has won the last four playoff matches, twice in state and the last two section finals in a lower division. They’ve moved up, but they still appear to be connected at the hip. The winner will likely face No. 1 Marymount (17-7) or No. 4 Laguna Beach (18-8).
Division II-AA: The bracketing seems to favor the two top-seeded teams, La Canada (27-3) and La Reina (24-3), neither of whom have lost to a division opponent this season. The other seded teams are No. 3 South Torrance (20-7) and No. 4 Chino Hills (23-4). Among the three Orange County teams, which include Laguna Hills and Tesoro, Mission Viejo seems best suited to make a run but is matched against top-seeded La Canada in the quarterfinals.
Division II-A: Troy (22-1) is top-seeded and has a bye in the first round. The Warriors avenged their only loss of the season, to Saugus, and defeated second-seeded Bonita (21-4) in the finals of the Dave Mohs tournament. In truth, the other seeded teams, Downey (22-3) and Camarillo (22-4) seem to be window dressing.
Division III-AA: Nobody outside of the Prep League figures to be a major player as the three top-seeded teams are from that league: Chadwick (23-0), Pasadena Poly (16-6) and Mayfield (16-8). The fourth-seeded team is Quartz Hill (15-1).
Seeded teams in other divisions include:
Division III-A: 1. Brentwood (17-9), 2. San Dimas (20-4), 3. Campbell Hall (15-11), 4. Rim of the World (21-7).
Division IV-AA: 1. St. Margaret’s, 2. Laguna Blanca, 3. Gardena Serra, 4. Ocean View.
Division IV-A: Hemet, 2. Upland Christian Academy, 3. Connelly, 4. Pacifica Christian.
Division V-AA: 1. Riverside Christian, 2. Sierra Canyon, 3. Desert Christian Academy, 4. Victor Valley Christian.
Division V-A: 1. Coast Union, 2. Pacific Christian, 3. San Gabriel Academy, 4. Trona.