Officials from the CIF-Southern Section office in Los Alamitos recently released pairings for the upcoming girls’ volleyball playoffs, which will commence Tuesday, Oct. 17, with wildcard matches and Thursday, Oct. 19, with opening round contests. Our Valley News coverage area was well represented with 17 teams qualifying for postseason play and seven squads earning top ten rankings in their divisions.

Abby Pekrul (3) and the Temecula Prep girls volleyball team earned a number one seed in Division Eight after an undefeated South Valley League championship. Valley News/Time Stood Still Photography

Three teams earned top five seeds from our area in Temecula Prep (first in Division Eight), Linfield Christian (third in Division Six), and Cornerstone Christian (fourth in Division Nine). Also earning top ten rankings were Paloma Valley (seventh in Division Four), West Valley (tenth in Division Six), Tahquitz (seventh in Division Eight), and California Lutheran (tenth in Division Eight).

Rancho Christian received votes in Division Five and Liberty was also receiving votes in Division Eight.

Here are the matchups involving Valley News area teams. If there are any changes to times, dates or sites please email and with updated information. All matches are scheduled for 6 P.M. start times unless otherwise noted.

Division Two

Outlook:  Highlighting the local slate is a rematch of last year’s quarterfinals as El Toro makes the trip to Temecula Valley. Winner gets third seeded Long Beach Wilson in Saturday’s second round. In a rematch of earlier this year Murrieta Valley makes the trip to Rancho Cucamonga, champions of the Baseline League, who they beat early in non-league play.

Murrieta Valley players celebrate their victory over Temecula Valley, knocking the Golden Bears out of a tie with Vista Murrieta for first place in the Southwestern League. Valley News/David Canales photo

The Nighthawks come into this match off a reverse sweep win over Temecula Valley. Vista Murrieta hosts a historically solid Lakewood program that finished fourth in the Moore League while Chaparral made the playoffs in Gretchen Johnson’s first year as head coach.

Local matchups: Chaparral at South Pasadena, Lakewood at Vista Murrieta, El Toro at Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley at Rancho Cucamonga

Division Four

Outlook: Ivy League champion Paloma Valley is the lone area representative in this division and will host Valley Christian/Cerritos, a second-place team from the Olympic League, who comes into postseason play as winners of five of their past seven matches. Valley Christian has a pair of five set wins over Whittier Christian in the span of two weeks.

Local matchups: Valley Christian/Cerritos at Paloma Valley, 5 P.M.

Division Five

Outlook: Rancho Christian gets a short trip to open the playoffs after finishing as runner-up in the Ivy League. Should the Eagles prevail they’d likely play second seeded La Reina in a rematch from their Division Six playoff run of a year ago.

Local Matchups: Rancho Christian at Temescal Canyon

Division Six

Outlook: Linfield Christian is the area’s highest ranked team in this division, earning a third seed despite finishing third in Ambassador League play. It’s a division that the Lions have won previously, in 2019. After a mid-season coaching change Kat Pierce is finishing out the season as interim head coach and has six upperclassmen on her roster of 11. Anna Roth is averaging 3.5 kills per set to lead the Lions offense while Morgan Fox and Grace Toth are both averaging just under two kills per set. Brooklyn Pierce is averaging 7.4 assists per set and is a top-level club setter.

Anna Roth and the Linfield Christian girls volleyball team earned a number three seed and will begin their chase for the program’s third CIF-SS championship in five seasons on the road Thursday, Oct. 19. Valley News/Time Stood Still Photography

“It was the day before our league opener when the change was made and these girls have responded with such grit and determination to everything that has come our way this season,” Pierce said when reached by phone. “This week we focused on finding victories in areas other than the scoreboard and particularly on Thursday night against Ontario Christian the girls really embraced that mentality, leaving that gym as winners by taking a set from a program that has won 59 straight league matches and nearly taking them the distance. When the playoffs start, however, we have to take that attention to detail and bring it forward to a situation where the scoreboard will matter because a loss ends our year. “

“She leads from a place of compassion and confidence and puts the team before herself,” Pierce, a 17-year area veteran, shared about Roth. “At Hamilton we thought she hurt her wrist and was done for the year. However, ten minutes before the start at Arrowhead Christian we found out that radiology misread an x-ray and that Anna would be good to go. She had her stuff with her, went and got dressed, then told me that the girl who practiced in that spot deserved the start. It shows just what kind of leader she is.”

West Valley, after a third straight Mountain Pass League title, earned a ten seed and looks to duplicate last year’s quarterfinal run in Division Seven.

Local matchups: No. 3 Linfield Christian at Grace, Wildcard “F” Winner (Gahr at Sultana) at #10 West Valley,

Division Seven

Outlook: Both Lakeside and Orange Vista have made nice runs in the lower divisions and look to continue that success this year. Orange Vista was the champion of the Inland Valley League.

Local matchups: Lakeside at Fontana and Carter at Orange Vista

Division Eight

Outlook: Temecula Prep is the overall number one seed in this division which also has Tahquitz and California Lutheran in the top ten. Donald Reyes’ team dropped a pair of sets in league play en route to an undefeated South Valley League title.

“Our upperclassmen have year in and out done such a great job of modeling the habits necessary to make deep runs for our underclassman,” Reyes said by phone. “This year we have more high-level club players than we’ve ever had since I’ve been here and I’m hoping their experience will be a difference maker as we try to get over that hump and into a final. We also intentionally scheduled a couple of really tough non-league matchups to make sure our team is ready for the challenges of these next couple of weeks.”

Reyes lists Abby Pekrul (3.4 kills per set), a junior outside hitter, as a player to watch along with senior setter Angelina Browder (308 assists and 67 aces) and junior middle hitter Sidney Gray (2.3 kills per set).

Local matchups: Wildcard “A” Winner (Desert Mirage at Ontario) at #1 Temecula Prep, Inglewood at #10 California Lutheran, La Sierra Academy at Liberty, Wildcard “E” winner (Marshall at Tahquitz) at Academy/Academic Excellence

Division Nine

Outlook: Cornerstone Christian is the area’s highest ranked team in this division at number four after winning a Majestic League championship in undefeated fashion to finish an 18-4 regular season.

The Cornerstone Christian girls volleyball team are having their best season since 2019 when they won a CIF-SS title in Division Nine at Avalon (Catalina Island). The current Majestic League champions will start postseason play at home this week against a wildcard winner. Valley News/Courtesy photo

“When I got here, I didn’t have many expectations and thought if we could get just a few more wins than they’ve had the last several years that would be a successful season. The girls very quickly bought into everything I’ve asked them to work on and they’ve been rewarded for that work,” head coach Paul Amoy said by phone. “Just like the regular season we’re going to focus on our side of the net and prepare for each match to the best of our ability and see what happens.”

Amoy pointed out Presleigh Gaudy and Kaylee Galyon as his top two attacking options for setter Kaylin Woollett.

Local matchups: Wildcard “B” (River Springs/Hemet at Pacific Lutheran) winner at #5 Le Lycee, Wildcard “F” (Mountain View at Newport Christian) winner at #4 Cornerstone Christian, Wildcard “I” (Santa Rosa Academy at Grove) winner at #10 Shalhevet,

Player of the Week: 

Miley Thunstrom, Murrieta Valley

Murrieta Valley’s Miley Thunstrom (22) earned Player of the Week honors after recording 23 kills in a comeback reverse sweep victory over Temecula Valley, which gave them the Southwestern League’s final automatic playoff bid. Valley News/David Canales photo

It took a rally for the ages to pull off the senior night win and seal an automatic CIF-SS playoff bid but that’s exactly what the Nighthawks did on Thursday night. The win also spoiled Temecula Valley’s bid for a Southwestern League title and Thunstrom led the charge with 23 kills.

Derryl Trujillo can be reached at