Tournament Central (watch, stats, photos, recaps, brackets)
CHULA VISTA - This year's CCCAA State Women's Volleyball Championship tournament has an 8-team, single-elimination field that is a Who's Who of state champions in the sport. Of the 13 colleges that have won the main schools state title, six are here and one more participant--MiraCosta--was once a two-time small schools champion (1980-1981). The last six state champions are here including 2-time recent winners in Irvine Valley College (2014, 2017) and Cabrillo (2013, 2015), 2016 champ Fresno City, and defending title holder American River. Some older champs are here too in Grossmont (1987, 1989) and El Camino (1981, 1983, 2007-2008).
And yet, it's the program with the most wins this year with 32 in North #1 seed Feather River that should be the hungriest team of all as it's the one squad that has never experienced a state title. The favorite though appears to be South #1 and state #1-ranked Irvine Valley, the only undefeated team left in the field at 25-0. In the Lasers two previous state championship seasons, both were undefeated runs of 27-0 in 2014 and 2017.
Individually, seven of the nine selected All-Americans from the regular season will be in action at the state tourney held this year at Southwestern College (hosted by the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference). The tourney was moved from San Diego City College due to parking conflicts with other city events that weekend. The last time the event was held in San Diego County was in 1993 at Southwestern. This is the 43rd year of the state-sanctioned tournament.
All of the pedigree of the elite teams will be on display Friday-Sunday, Dec. 6-8. The quarterfinals begin Friday:
10 a.m.--N1 Feather River v. S4 MiraCosta
1 p.m.--S2 Grossmont v. N3 Cabrillo
4 p.m.--N2 Fresno City v. S3 El Camino
7 p.m.--S1 Irvine Valley v. N4 American River
Saturday, Dec. 7
Semifinals, 2 p.m., 5 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 8
Championship Final, 2 p.m.
Maybe the most impactful opening day match is the late one as it was American River that eliminated and upset then #1 South seed Irvine Valley (four sets) in the semifinals at the 2018 state tournament at Solano College. The Lasers have not lost since that match. ARC's state title run also included wins over El Camino (four sets) and Fresno City (state final in five sets), who both ironically will face each other in the preceding quarterfinal. Naturally, if ARC were to upset Irvine Valley again, the Beavers would face the winner of the Fresno-El Camino match in the semifinals.
On the other side of the bracket, it is possible to have an all-PCAC semifinal if MiraCosta upset #1 North seed Feather River and Grossmont defeats Cabrillo. If the two North teams won, it would allow Feather River an opportunity to avenge a regular season 5-set loss to Cabrillo during the regular season that helped knock the Golden Eagles from a No. 1 state ranking and ended a then 21-match win streak by FRC.
As RPI became a more important element in the seeding process this season, it is interesting that in a current look at the RPI, which continues to calculate throughout the postseason, seven of the top eight teams are still playing. The only non-top 8 RPI team that didn't make it to the state tourney was #5 RPI Folsom Lake. El Camino has the lowest RPI of the state tourney field at #13.
The following is a team-by-team preview of the state tournament teams:
South #1 Seed--Irvine Valley (25-0)
Orange Empire Conference Champions (three straight)
Final Regular Season State Rank: #1
State Tournament Appearance: Ninth (1999, 2003-2005, 2008-2009, 2013-2014, 2017-2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2018, Tied 3rd Place
State Titles: 2, 2014, 2017
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: swept #18 San Diego City, #9 Orange Coast
Current Win Streak: 25
Top Team Stats: State #1-Kills Per Set 14.62, #1-Kill Percentage .333
Interesting Factoid: Irvine Valley is 75-4 in sets this year.
Top Individual Players: All-American 1st Team/All-State So. MB Kristin Austin, All-SoCal Region So. Setter Truth Hafey, All-SoCal Region So. OH Lea Kruse
Head Coach: Tom Pestolesi, South Region Coach of the Year
North #1 Seed--Feather River (32-2)
Mascot: Golden Eagles
Golden Valley Conference Champions (10 straight)
Final Regular Season State Rank: #2
State Tournament Appearance: Fourth (2008, 2014, 2017, 2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2017, Tied 5th Place
State Titles: None (highest finish in 2014, 4th)
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: swept #18 West Hills Coalinga, swept #8 West Valley
Current Win Streak: 11
Top Team Stats: State #6-Kills Per Set 12.43, #4 Kill Percentage .292
Interesting Factoid: Since losing its only two matches of the season on the same day on Oct. 5, Feather River has won 33 consecutive sets.
Top Individual Players: All-American/All-State 1st Team So. Setter Mere Nagase, All-American 2nd Team/All-State So. Libero Kayla Joyce, Fr. MB Sydney Gott
Head Coach: Sarah Ritchie, North Region Coach of the Year
South #2 Seed--Grossmont (26-3)
Co-Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Champions
Final Regular Season State Rank: #4
State Tournament Appearance: Ninth (1987-1990, 1992, 2013-2014, 2016, 2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2016, Tied 3rd Place
State Titles: 2, 1987, 1989
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: swept #17 Golden West, d. #7 Bakersfield in 4
Current Win Streak: 4
Top Team Stats: State #5-Kills Per Set 12.47, #6 Kill Percentage .268
Interesting Factoid: Grossmont has 17 sweeps this season.
Top Individual Players: So. OH Shaney Lipscomb, So. Setter Haley Morton, So. OH Naomi Talisa Leilua
Head Coach: Jamie Ivers/Assistant Coach Brooke Callahan
North #2 Seed--Fresno City (30-2)
Central Valley Conference Champions (13 straight)
Final Regular Season State Rank: #3
State Tournament Appearance: Seventh (2002, 2005, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2018-2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2018, State Runner-up
State Titles: 1, 2016
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: d. #16 Santa Rosa in 4, swept #7 San Joaquin Delta
Current Win Streak: 19
Top Team Stats: State #2-Kills Per Set 14.29, #2 Kill Percentage .326
Interesting Factoid: Fresno is 90-7 in sets during wins this year, but 4-6 v. Feather River who handed the Rams both their losses in 5-set defeats.
Top Individual Players: All-American 3rd Team/All-State So. OH Marina Gonzalez, All-NorCal Region Fr. OH Taylor Dilley, So. OH Julie Castleman
Head Coach: Kieran Roblee
South #3 Seed--El Camino (23-5)
South Coast Conference Conference Champions (10 straight)
Final Regular Season State Rank: #9
State Tournament Appearance: 20th (1977-1978, 1980-1981, 1983, 1985-1986, 1989, 1992, 1997-1998, 2001, 2005-2008, 2011, 2016, 2018-2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2018, Tied 7th Place
State Titles: 4, 1981, 1983, 2007, 2008
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: d. #13 Fullerton in 5, d. #5 Moorpark in 4
Current Win Streak: 5
Top Team Stats: State #9-Kills Per Set 12.25
Interesting Factoid: After starting the season 4-4, El Camino has won 19 of its last 20 matches. ECC was the SoCal #4 seed but moved up one for state with #3 San Diego Mesa's elimination in Round 2.
Top Individual Players: All-American 2nd Team/All-State So. Libero Kelly Donatucci, All-SoCal Region So. OH Mikayla Clark, Setter Caitlin Donatucci
Head Coach: Liz Hazell
North #3 Seed--Cabrillo (23-5)
Coast Conference North Division Champions (13 straight)
Final Regular Season State Rank: #6
State Tournament Appearance: 13th (1989-1990, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2010-2011, 2013-2017, 2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2017, Tied 3rd Place
State Titles: 2, 2013, 2015
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: swept #14 Butte, d. #6 Sierra in 5
Current Win Streak: 13
Top Team Stats: State #1-Blocks Per Set 2.62; #5-Aces Per Set 2.87,
Interesting Factoid: The program is making its sixth appearance in the last seven years at the state tournament.
Top Individual Players: All-American 1st Team/All-State So. OH Ellie Cary, So. Setter/RS Kendra Lis, Fr. MB Isabella Bush
Head Coach: Kelsee Montagna
South #4 Seed--MiraCosta (21-5)
Third Place, PCAC
Final Regular Season State Rank: #12
State Tournament Appearance: Second (2017, 2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2017, Tied 7th Place
*State Titles: None (*-Small Colleges Separate State Titles in 1980, 1981)
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: swept #11 Cypress, d. #3 San Diego Mesa in 5
Current Win Streak: 10
Top Team Stats: State #15-Kills Per Set 11.83
Interesting Factoid: Although the only team not a conference champion at the state tourney, MiraCosta is 3-0 v. the two PCAC co-champs during its current win streak. The Spartans were the No. 6 SoCal seed.
Top Individual Players: All-State So. OH Hayley Torres, Fr. Libero Paola Peralta, So. MB Leigha Malecha
Head Coach: Chris Muscat
North #4 Seed--American River (24-7)
Co-Big 8 Conference Champions
Final Regular Season State Rank: #7
State Tournament Appearance: Ninth (1981, 1984, 1986, 1993-1995, 2013, 2018, 2019)
Last State Tournament Appearance: 2018, State Champs
State Titles: 1, 2018
Regional Road to 2019 State Tourney: d. #13 Solano in 4, d. #5 Folsom Lake in 4
Current Win Streak: 3
Top Team Stats: State #2-Digs Per Set, 21.24, #8 Blocks Per Set 2.00
Interesting Factoid: After starting the season at 2-4, American River got hot and has now won 18 of its last 19 matches.
Top Individual Players: All-American 3rd Team/All-State OH Allison Linder, So. OH Andreia Keane, So. MB Kendall Welpott
Head Coach: Carson Lowden
Release by Robert Lewis, CCCWVCA SID