Though football playoffs don’t start for another two weeks (or three, if you’re in the Academic Athletic Association), the postseason has already arrived for high school volleyball teams. Section playoffs are getting underway, with teams competing for the right to represent the city in the upcoming California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Tournament.
Lowell’s thrilling five-set win over Balboa on Tuesday night secured both the AAA regular season title and the top AAA playoff seed. The AAA, which is coterminous with the CIF’s San Francisco Section, sends its two finalists to the state tournament. The top four teams in Division 1 and the top two teams in Division 2 compete in the AAA playoffs, with the top two seeds receiving byes to Tuesday’s semifinals. Quarterfinals will be played on Friday, with No. 3 Lincoln hosting No. 6 Burton and No. 4 Washington hosting No. 5 Academy. Lincoln secured the third seed on Wednesday, beating Washington in straight sets.
St. Ignatius (15-16) squeaked into the playoffs by the slimmest possible margin, beating Valley Christian (17-8) in five sets on Tuesday night. The Wildcats needed to secure a .500 league record to ensure playoff eligibility, and they managed to, despite dropping the first two sets to the Warriors on the road. They’ll visit Valley Christian again on Saturday, as the Warriors were given the fourth seed in the Open Division and SI was seeded fifth. St. Francis (28-0) has the top seed after completing an unbeaten regular season with a five-set victory over Mitty (26-7). The Lancers will host Los Altos (27-8), while the second-seeded Monarchs host Burlingame (26-6). All eight CCS Open Division teams advance to the state tournament.
Sacred Heart Cathedral (18-11) is seeded third in Division III for a second year in a row. The Fightin’ Irish will host No. 6 King City (14-8) on Tuesday night. The finalists in each of the five CCS enrollment divisions are guaranteed berths to the state tournament, while another three semifinalists receive at-large bids, as SHC did last year.
Bay Counties League West Division champion University (23-5) is the third seed in NCS Division 3, and the Red Devils won their first round matchup against No. 14 Alhambra (10-12) in straight sets (25-15, 25-16, 25-13). The Devils host No. 6 Acalanes (21-12) in the quarterfinals on Saturday night, with the winner advancing to the state tournament. Branson (15-10) and Tamalpais (27-8) hold the top two seeds in Division 3.
The NCS sends its top four teams in each division, along with the highest-seeded quarterfinal loser.
The two smallest NCS divisions are full of San Francisco representation. Urban (15-8) is the top seed in Division 5, and will host No. 8 College Prep-Oakland (13-11) on Saturday night after a first-round bye. The Cougars beat No. 9 Cloverdale in straight sets. Seventh-seeded Drew (10-9) beat No. 10 International in the first round, and will visit second-seeded Clear Lake (29-3) on Saturday. BCL Central champion Bay (18-3) is seeded third, and will host Salesian (19-11) at Letterman Gym on Saturday. The Breakers swept Summit Tamalpais in the first round (25-4, 25-8, 25-4).
San Francisco Waldorf (11-4) has the top seed in Division 6. The Wolverines had a first-round bye and will host No. 8 St. Bernard’s (13-16) on Saturday night. The Crusaders will make the long trip from Eureka, where they defeated Holy Names in straight sets (25-15, 25-19, 25-9) on Wednesday.
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