CIFSS Finalists Receive A Rankings Boost
By Mark Tennis
Four of the 10 teams in last week’s Flo50 boys’ volleyball national rankings faced each other on Wednesday night in the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals.
When the evening began, defending champion Loyola of Los Angeles was No. 2 in the pecking order with Oak Park at No. 3, Corona del Mar of Newport Beach at No. 5, and Newport Harbor of Newport Beach at No. 6. After Loyola defeated Newport Harbor 25-23, 25-20, 25-18, and Corona del Mar took down Oak Park 25-21, 25-21, 25-11, the order was changed in time for this week’s rankings with Loyola staying at No. 2 followed by Corona del Mar at No. 3, Oak Park at No. 6, and Newport Harbor at No. 9.
Loyola and Corona del Mar are playing in the Southern Section DI final on Saturday for the second straight season. Last year’s match went to five games.
In Loyola’s win on Wednesday, three different Cubs--J.R. Reilly, Will Bantle, and Brady Wedbush--had 10 kills each.
Despite the Wednesday results, all four teams are moving on to the CIF Southern California regional playoffs, which start next week. Some rematches are likely.
In some years, a team that wins the CIF Southern Section Division I title and then wins the Southern California crown would be considered No. 1 in California and No. 1 in the nation. This year, however, Punahou of Honolulu, Hawaii, has already ended its season with just one loss and having won a tournament that included all of the top CIFSS teams.
The season also came to a close last week in Arizona where Boulder Creek of Anthem captured its second consecutive state title and won its third championship in four years with a four-set victory over Chandler. The Jaguars, who moved up to No. 15 in this week’s rankings, won 25-20, 25-18, 22-25, 25-21 and were led by sophomore Jackson Hickman with 17 kills. Head coach Taylor Stallman also will have several other key returnees next season.