Preseason CIF rankings highlight dangerous La Cañada teams

Expectations are high, as they usually are, for the La Cañada High girls’ volleyball and boys’ water polo teams this season. They were reinforced when the CIF Southern Section released its preseason rankings Wednesday afternoon.

Both the Spartans’ water polo and volleyball teams appear poised to make a deep playoff run this year. La Cañada water polo, which is coming off its first trip to the semifinals in five years and has a new coach in Jim Sprague, earned the top ranking in Division III after Laguna Beach and Damien – last year’s division finalists – were bumped up to Division II.

Spartans volleyball picked up the first runner-up ranking in Division II-AA after its season came to a disappointing end in the second round in 2011. The Spartans return a number of dangerous offensive threats with outside hitters Micaela Anderson, Kendall Walbrecht and middle blocker Katie Pierce, while replacing last year’s libero and setter – Catherine Horner and Kirstie Shurie, respectively.

St. Francis High football also earned CIF recognition, as it grabbed the fifth slot in the Western Division after it placed third in the stacked Mission League and advanced to the Western Division quarterfinals last year.

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