The parity from men’s college volleyball game has proven to be true on the high school level as well. Volleyball talent is growing and moving. The Best of the West and OC Championships proved that San Clemente is the team to beat in Southern California, but to remain unscathed throughout the season is a tough order in the Southern Section.
Several teams like Mira Costa and Huntington Beach will travel to Hawaii during Spring Break to get some tough competition in Kamehameha, Punahou and Hawaii Baptist, where the most talented teams in the islands play.
Before playoffs start, two more notable tournaments will be sure to shake up the rankings with the Karch Kiraly Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions on April 12-13 and the Redondo/Mira Costa Varsity Classic on April 26-27.
San Clemente, Mira Costa, Loyola and Palos Verdes among others will all be at the Redondo Varsity Classic to allow the possibility of a change up at the No. 1 spot.
1. San Clemente (18-0) The Tritons are on a roll after winning the Best of the West, defeating Loyola and the OC Championships with a win over Huntington Beach. Laguna Beach gave them a run for their money in a five-set match, but the USC bound Yoder cousins, Jack and Lucas, are showing that they have something to prove this season. The Tritons will face South Coast league rival Dana Hills this week.
2. Mira Costa (11-1) The Mustangs have bounced back since the loss to San Clemente in the Best of the West tournament with three-set wins each over Orange Lutheran and Redondo Union. They will travel to Hawaii this weekend to play powerhouses Punahou and Kamehameha in the Clash of the Titans. They have a tough schedule ahead as they face rival Loyola, travel north to the Santa Barbara TOC and face a tough field at Redondo Union.
3. Loyola (15-1) The Cubs remain in the top five after beating St. Francis, Crespi and Harvard Westlake. The Cubs will get a real test when they face Mira Costa on April 12 at a neutral site LMU and head to the Redondo Power Classic.
4. Palos Verdes (18-1) The Sea Kings have had a good run since they finished third in the Best of the West where their only loss was to Loyola. They beat Redondo Union last week in four and will face Mira Costa next week for their best opportunity in the history of their program to give Costa a run for the Bay league.
5. Huntington Beach (13-2) The Oilers have had a good start to the season, finishing second in the OC Championships after taking down Dana Hills in the semis and losing only to San Clemente in the final. They will travel to Hawaii this week to play in the Kamehameha School Cup and defend the title they won last year. Hawaii Baptist, Laguna Beach and St. John Bosco will also be there.
6. Dana Hills (18-3) The Dolphins have been in good shape this year behind junior UCLA commit Christian Hessenauer. They lost to Huntington Beach at the OC Championship in three, but beat Mater Dei in four at the tournament.
7. Mater Dei (13-3) The Monarchs have faired well in the
early part of the season, winning the Foothill Tournament with a win
over Santa Margarita in two. The Monarchs recently lost to a tough team
in St. John Bosco and will travel north to the Bellarmine Tournament
next weekend. Senior outside hitter and UCI commit Tucker Pikula has
been the go-to hitter for the Monarchs this season.
8. Esperanza (12-2) The Division II Aztecs have started off well this season despite running into Dana Hills in the Redondo Varsity preseason tournament and finishing third. Junior opposite UCLA commit Jake Arnitz has been the firepower for the team and libero Ben Oxnard has been providing steady passing as the mainstays after graduating a talented team last year. Esperanza has since beat Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach and remains the top team in the Century League.
9. Redondo Union (6-6) The Seahawks have had a rough start to the season. As their boys basketball team just won the state tournament, the Seahawks volleyball team has come across some tough competition with losses against Mira Costa and Palos Verdes. They will take five from competition during spring break but will have another crack at Palos Verdes when they return to action in mid-April.
10. Oak Park (17-4) The Division II Eagles have turned a corner after a mediocre showing at the Best of the West with a good performance at Dos Pueblos Invitational with a first-place win over San Marcos. Sophomore opposite Woody Cook was named MVP and the Eagles continue on an 11-game win streak and are the No. 1 team in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 poll.