Multiple coaches in the top division of high school girls’ volleyball have called for a true seeding when it comes to the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
They may have gotten their wish, as the section unveiled plans on Thursday to introduce a power rankings system for the top two divisions.
Divisions 1 and 2 will be combined throughout the season, with the top 16 teams in the final rankings making up the field for the Division 1 bracket.
The Division 2 bracket will have the traditional 32-team field.
“That’s a great idea,” Newport Harbor girls’ volleyball coach Dan Glenn said via text message in reaction to the set-up for the 2018 girls’ volleyball season.
Local teams subject to the new combined Divisions 1 and 2 playoff grouping will be Corona del Mar, Edison, Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor.
CdM advanced to the Division 1 semifinals after running the table in the Pacific Coast League. The Sea Kings will join the top-tier Surf Division of the Sunset League in the fall.
The Surf Division comprises exclusively teams that competed in the Division 1 playoffs last season. The four teams are CdM, Huntington Beach, Edison and Los Alamitos.
Sea Kings coach Steve Astor plans to take a wait-and-see approach with the new system, adding that the handling of at-large selections in Division 2 is of high interest considering the strength of his team’s league.
“There’s a very good possibility that the 17th-best team could be an at-large team,” Astor said. “Are they going to have to be on the road against a league champion?
“You look at the new Sunset League, our league. There’s only two automatic qualifiers. There’s a very good chance that whoever gets third or fourth won’t be in the top 16, I would think. They might be an at-large, and they might be one of the top seeds in that division.”
The CIF continues to use a two-year examination period to place teams in their respective playoff division for the upcoming season. Extra weight (75%) is given to the most recent year, with 25% of the total ranking points being accrued from the season prior (the 2016-17 school year).
Three local teams moved up a division in the new playoff groups.
Costa Mesa went 19-7 overall, 8-2 in the Orange Coast League. The Mustangs move up to Division 4.
Ocean View (21-5, 8-2) advanced to the Division 8 quarterfinals last season, which was enough to send the Seahawks to Division 7.
Los Amigos (5-11, 2-8) heads up to Division 8. The move likely came as a byproduct of the section’s decision to decrease the number of playoff divisions.
Last year, there were 10 playoff divisions, but due to the total number of possible byes, the section decided that there will be nine playoff divisions for the 2018 season.
There were 17 byes across all 10 divisions in 2017, and that number could have increased with 13 schools leaving the section for the Central Section.
Fountain Valley, Laguna Beach and Sage Hill will be in Division 3.