The story remains the same, but the script has been flipped.
For the second consecutive season, Granite Bay and St. Francis high schools are the top two seeds in the CIF Division I Northern California Regional Volleyball Championships. In 2012, St. Francis beat Granite Bay 3-0 in the Sac-Joaquin Section D-I title game and was the top NorCal seed, hosting Skyline of Oakland in the first round of NorCals.
This time, the Grizzlies (41-0)swept the Troubadours (32-8) in the section final on Thursday at UC Davis and will host Skyline (13-3) in a NorCal opener on Tuesday.
Even more eerie is the similarity for the second seed. Granite Bay played on the road in a NorCal opener last season, beating Lowell of San Francisco. The game was in the Bay Area because the Cardinals were the San Francisco Section champions, and section winners host NorCal games.
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And once again, Lowell (35-10) will host the Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up, this time St. Francis on Tuesday despite the Cardinals being seeded seventh.
Granite Bay stands as the state’s lone unbeaten team. No area team has won a state large-school title or finished unbeaten in any division.
Granite Bay beat St. Francis in a Foundation Game in September and in the Super 8 Tournament in October. A fourth meeting this season could materialize in the NorCal final on Dec. 3. The state final is Dec. 7 at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
St. Francis beat Granite Bay in four sets in last season’s NorCal finalbefore falling to Marymount of Los Angeles in the state title match.
Thunder rolling – Rocklin is back in the NorCal playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Thunder beat Vintage of Napa 3-1 in the D-II section final. The match ended at 11:31 p.m., but for coach Dave Muscarella, it was well worth the wait to host Carondelet of Concord (28-12) in the first round on Tuesday.
“We are totally pumped for that,” Muscarella said. “We are going to really publicize it at school to get the kids out.”
Eagles soaring – Although Vista del Lago fell to Christian Brothers 3-0 in the D-III section final, Eagles coach Wayne Campbell has been pleasantly surprised by his young team’s play.
Vista del Lago (24-15) lost six seniors from last year’s team as Campbell, also the boys volleyball coach, took over for Patrick Sanders, who stepped away for an undetermined time.
Juniors Kara Campbell, Kaitlin Hughes and Kylie Altman and freshman Sydney Northcutt led Vista del Lago to its fourth consecutive Sierra Valley Conference title this season. The Eagles, seeded fifth in the NorCal bracket, will travel to fourth-seeded Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland on Tuesday.
Christian Brothers (33-9), seeded third in D-III, will visit Campolindo of Moraga (25-10) on Tuesday. CBS won NorCal D-IV titles in 2008 and 2009.
The Pride – Bradshaw Christian reached the NorCal playoffs for the third time in five seasons. The Pride (27-7) is seeded fifth in D-V after falling to Vacaville Christian in the section final.
Led by seniors Rachael Byerly and Courtney Skinner and juniors Alexa Mullins and Avery Barrera, Bradshaw Christian will play at Priory of Portola Valley (16-12) on Tuesday.