When the dust settled after a wild week of high school volleyball, a new No. 1 team emerged.
At 17-0, El Camino is the top dog after winning two tournaments, including the Carmichael Invitational, where it beat No. 9 Rio Americano. The Eagles have the best record in the Sac-Joaquin Section and will be challenged this week against No. 2 St. Francis on Thursday.
It’s rare to see a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown, despite area coaches continuing to schedule tough opponents in nonleague play to prepare for league schedules.
El Camino, seeking the program’s fourth section championship since 2009 with coach Marty Soyama, also beat No. 5 Rocklin last week 3-0. The Eagles are a veteran team headed by four-year setter Devin Herenda, outstide hitter Mikaela Nocetti (MaxPreps California Player of the Week) and middle blockers Libby Dahlberg and Kate Nicknig (led state in blocks last week). All of the Eagles’ starters are seniors.
St. Francis, with one of the more tall lineups in the section, also made a strong argument to be No. 1 after the host Troubadours beat previous No. 1 Christian Brothers 3-1 in the annual Holy Court and previous No. 2 Granite Bay.
But El Camino was previously ranked third and St. Francis fourth, and El Camino won an earlier tournament that included the Troubadours.
The teams will decide it on the floor Thursday. CBS, meanwhile, responded from the St. Francis setback by winning six of its next seven matches behind senior Nastassja Bowman, who led the Falcons in kills and aces last season and now plays setter in an example of versatility.
Granite Bay slid to No. 7 as it lost to new No. 6 Oakmont on Saturday in another example of how deep the Top 10 is. Granite Bay is led by Brigid Bell and Brooke Hershberger.
Father bested son when Elk Grove Unified School District programs met. No. 6 Pleasant Grove scored four second-half goals to beat No. 7 Cosumnes Oaks 5-1 on Sept. 2, and for one night Rich Moorhouse upped his son. Moorhouse is the Eagles’ former head coach now working as an assistant. His sophomore son R.J. plays for Cosumnes Oaks.
Said R.J., “It was weird.”
Said father with a laugh, “I want to win, but I want R.J. to play well, too.”
Pleasant Grove halted the Wolfpack’s 25-game unbeaten streak. Cosumnes Oaks went 18-0-4 last season in winning the Division II section title.