HS Girls’ Volleyball: CIF Southern Section playoffs underway

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The Vista Murrieta Lady Broncos took the Southwestern League championship this season and will and host Corona del Mar in the opening round. David Canales photo.
The Vista Murrieta Lady Broncos took the Southwestern League championship this season and will and host Corona del Mar in the opening round. David Canales photo.

It’s playoff time for the local high school girls’ volleyball teams and with the recent release of the CIF Southern Section pairings, it looks to be an interesting picture that has been painted. The local teams that all took their feats to the top and won league championships include the following local schools:

Inland Valley League: Orange Vista (undefeated)

Ivy League: Paloma Valley (undefeated)

Majestic League: Cornerstone Christian (undefeated)

Mountain Pass League: Beaumont, Hemet

South Valley League: Temecula Prep

Southwestern League: Vista Murrieta

Sunbelt League: Heritage (undefeated)

As for the parings and who will be facing who, here is a recap of what took place to get to this point, as well as a full schedule of first-round matchups. First off, the Lady Lions of Linfield Christian are back at it and will look to replicate the run they had last year that had them raising up a CIF Southern Section Division 7 championship plaque. For the second straight season, Linfield took the top seed in their playoff division, which is the No. 1 seed in Division 6 this year and will host Silverado in Thursday’s first round action.

The other team from the Temecula valley area that received top seeds in their respective playoff divisions as well is Cornerstone Christian, who picked up the top seed in Division 9 and opens the playoffs at home Thursday night against Pacific Lutheran.

Reka Monteleone (11) and her Vista Murrieta teammates earned the only local playoff berth into the Division 1 CIF Southern Section girls’ volleyball brackets. David Canales photo.

Now for some mind-blowing news…as Rancho Christian was the top team in the Division 7 rankings for the entire season, but the Lady Eagles will not be in the playoffs this season. Why you ask? Well, Rancho Christian was competing as a freelance team this season and the CIF Southern Section by-laws state freelance teams must have a winning percentage of at least .800 to be guaranteed an automatic playoff berth. The Lady Eagles finished with a 20-8 record (.714) and could have only earned a playoff spot if there were fewer than 32 automatic qualifiers in their division. Unfortunately, there were thirty-seven teams that earned automatic spots, so Rancho Christian did not make it into bracket play.

Bella Rittenberg (16) and the Lady Pumas received the No. 2 seed in Division 2 and will host King in the first round. David Canales photo.

Vista Murrieta was the only local team to earn a spot in the elite Division 1 bracket that includes 12 teams this season. The Broncos are the No. 7 seed and host No. 10 Corona del Mar in the opening round Thursday night. A win would secure Vista Murrieta a spot in the CIF State playoffs.

Five other Inland teams were given top-four divisional seeds for this year’s playoffs, including Chaparral, who missed the playoffs last season. This year the Lady Pumas received the No. 2 seed in Division 2 and will host King in the first round Thursday evening. Paloma Valley, last year’s Division 5 runner-up, is seeded No. 3 in the Division 3 brackets and will host Claremont on Thursday. Big Bear is seeded No. 3 seed in Division 8 and opens at home Thursday against Twentynine Palms or Santa Rosa Academy.

Teams in Divisions 2-9 must advance to the semifinal round to secure a spot in the state playoffs.

CIF-SS GIRLS VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS

(Matches at 6 p.m. Sites and times are subject to change)

 Division 1

Thursday’s first round

Corona del Mar at Vista Murrieta

Division 2

Thursday’s first round

Murrieta Valley at Burbank Burroughs

King at Chaparral

Temecula Valley at Cypress

Division 3

Thursday’s first round

Claremont at Paloma Valley

Division 4

Thursday’s first round

West Torrance at Hemet

Division 5

Thursday’s first round

Walnut at Heritage

Division 6

Thursday’s first round

Silverado at Linfield Christian

West Valley at Patriot

Division 7

Thursday’s first round

Ramona at Orange Vista

Division 8

Tuesday’s wild-card round

Twentynine Palms at Santa Rosa Academy

Thursday’s first round

San Jacinto Valley Academy at Cal Lutheran

Twentynine Palms or Santa Rosa Academy at Big Bear

Division 9

Thursday’s first round

Pacific Lutheran at Cornerstone Christian

Crossroads Christian at Temecula Prep