2018 Flo50 Girls' High School Volleyball Rankings
Assumption Earns 2018 Flo50 National Championship
After a 2017 season in which three different schools were No. 1 in various final national girls volleyball rankings—including Marist of Chicago in the 2017 Flo50—there is no doubt about 2018.
Anyone with a brain who can look at scores involving many of the top teams in the nation would have to conclude that Assumption of Louisville (Ky.) with a final record of 43-0 has to be in the No. 1 position. The Rockets wrapped that up by winning their 21st state title last month, but the key win in finishing on top turned out to be the one against Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) in the semifinals of the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas in September.
If Mater Dei had won that match and then defeated Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.) in the final, then the debates about this year’s final rankings might have been similar to last year. The Monarchs completed their season last Saturday by winning their first-ever CIF Open Division state title with a three-set sweep of Central (Fresno, Calif.). There is a computer ranking that has Mater Dei ahead of Assumption, but with the Rockets also having won other tournaments outside of Kentucky and with a head-to-head win that doesn’t make sense.
Still, the Mater Dei faithful are thrilled about the girls winning their first state title after losing in three previous attempts, including last year in the Open Division championship to Archbishop Mitty (San Jose). With most of the super elite California teams this season in the south, the Monarchs were expected to roll past Central in the final and they did: 25-13, 25-12, 25-13. Leading individuals included Mia Tuaniga with nine kills and 15 assists), Natalie Berty with nine kills and Meg Brown with eight.
The win by Mater Dei clinched the final No. 2 ranking for this year’s Flo50 and also enabled the girls to be named State Team of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports, an honor that stretches back to 1972. They are the first State Team of the Year from Orange County since Newport Harbor (Newport Beach) was No. 1 in the state in 1999.
The final top 10 also was impacted by what happened in the Class 6A championships in Texas. Flower Mound won its first title with a 24-26, 25-21, 26-24, 25-22 victory in the final over Ridge Point (Missouri City). Both teams were in the top 10 entering the week at No. 9 and No. 6, but in this week’s final rankings it’s Flower Mound at No. 7 and Ridge Point at No. 19.
Six-foot-5 Abby Butler, who signed with Oklahoma on Nov. 7, led the winners with 13 kills. Finals MVP Kaylee Cox, a 6-1 sophomore, also had 18 kills. The Flower Mound team represented the same school district as Hebron (Lewisville), which had won Class 6A state titles in Texas for the three previous seasons.
It took a victory over season-long Texas rankings leader Byron Nelson (Trophy Club) earlier in the playoffs for Flower Mound to start shooting up the charts. Now, with the Jaguars going all the way, Byron Nelson also was given a big push to a spot in the final rankings right behind.
One team that couldn’t lock up a final top 10 position last week was previous No. 7 Mercy of Farmington Hills, Mich. The Marlins lost in the Division I state semifinals to Lake Orion (another Michigan team that has been in the Flo50 for much of this season) and then Lake Orion won the title with a 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 25-16 victory against Rockford. Lake Orion, which went up from No. 47 to No. 30 in this week’s final rankings, was led by Paige Briggs with 30 kills.
The final week of the 2018 season also saw championships decided in Florida.
In the Class 9A final, Oviedo clinched a final top 20 national ranking with a 25-17, 25-15, 25-10 domination of Palm Beach Gardens. The Lady Lions featured University of Miami recruit and Under Armour All-America Savannah Vach, who had a match-high 15 kills.
In the Class 8A final, St. Thomas Aquinas of Fort Lauderdale caused some last-second rankings changes with its 17-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-19 triumph vs. previous No. 13 Plant. The Raiders, who were motivated all year after not getting a four-peat state title last season, won their fourth title in five years and moved up from No. 48 to No. 35 in the final Flo50.
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