Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls' volleyball leads way into playoffs Volleyball: Tologs are seeded fourth in Division I-A and are joined in postseason action with La Cañada and Crescenta Valley.

The chase for a CIF Southern Section girls’ volleyball championship has begun, as the postseason pairings were released Saturday morning, with wild-card playoff action beginning Saturday night.

Mission League co-champion Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy received the highest local bid, as the Tologs (23-4) were given the fourth seed in Division I-AA.

Yet, the seed wasn’t exactly a welcomed sight.

“Nothing against the teams in the lower bracket, but we’re in the upper bracket and that just seems like a much tougher bracket,” said Flintridge Sacred Heart Coach Ernest Banaag, whose team won its first league title since 2006. “It’s disappointing that you work so hard all year and then you’re not really rewarded. But like I told the girls, there isn’t much of a point to complain about that now.”

Fellow league co-champion Harvard-Westlake (20-10) was given the third seed over the Tologs by virtue of their head-to-head matchups, which were split, as the Wolverines needed one less game to win their match.

Flintridge Sacred Heart opens the postseason Tuesday at 7 p.m. at home versus Sierra League third-place entrant Ayala (12-13).

While the Bulldogs don’t boast the strongest record, they hail from one the division’s tougher leagues, headlined by No. 6 Chino Hills (11-5) and No. 7 St. Lucy’s (19-8).

A Tologs' victory would send the team into Thursday’s second round versus either formidable Thousand Oaks (15-9), the Marmonte League runner-up, or versus Orange Coast League second-place squad Santa Ana Calvary Chapel (20-7).

Should the seedings hold up as expected, Flintridge Sacred Heart will then face last year’s two divisional finalists in Century League champion El Dorado (14-8), fifth-ranked, in Saturday’s quarterfinal with a potential chance at revenge versus top-seeded defending divisional champion La Salle (26-5) on Nov. 19 in the divisional semifinals.

The Lancers defeated the Tologs in a thrilling back-and-forth affair, 25-17, 24-26, 25-21, 25-19 in Pasadena on Oct. 1.

“The good thing about my girls is that they’ve come together and are playing their best. Whatever juice we’ve been giving them has worked,” Banaag said. “We’re definitely going to need to be at our best to get through these playoffs.”

Down one division, La Cañada (10-20) is hoping to make a return run to the semifinals in the CIF Southern Section Division II-AA playoffs.

The Spartans’ difficult journey begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. at fourth-seeded Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos (23-9), the Baseline League runner-up.

Should the Spartans notch the upset victory, then they would either face San Gabriel Valley League champion Downey (15-10) or Tri-Valley League fourth-place Oak Park (9-15).

La Cañada tied for second in the Rio Hondo League with Monrovia, but goes into the playoffs as the league’s No. 3 team.

In Division II-A, Pacific League fourth-place finisher Crescenta Valley (12-9) also has a sizable journey in Tuesday’s first round, as the Falcons will make the 133-mile round trip to Oxnard (20-13) to face the sixth-ranked team within the division.

“I haven’t seen Oxnard and don’t really know anything about them, so we’re kind of going in blind,” Falcons Coach Jen Ku Lee said. “I’d love to get my hands on some game film and I’m going to make calls and see what I can find out, but from what little I know, I know they’re an excellent team and it’s going to be a challenge.”

A Falcons' upset win would qualify the squad into Thursday’s second round versus either Prep League No. 2 Chadwick (15-7) or Empire third-place Western (14-7).

“This is my first time being in the playoffs as the head honcho,” Lee said. “We’re all looking forward to this experience and I’m going to let the girls play and not try to hold them back.”

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