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Girls' Volleyball: Sage Hill earns No. 1 seed

Lightning top seed for first time in program history. Sage Hill, CdM, Newport, Estancia open playoffs Tuesday.

November 09, 2013|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza

Going into Saturday's release of the CIF Southern Section girls' volleyball playoff pairings, Coach Dan Thomassen expected his Sage Hill School team to earn the top seed in Division 3-A.

For much of the season, coaches voted the Lightning No. 1 in the Division 3-A poll. That is where Sage Hill ended up, despite sharing first place in the Academy League with Crean Lutheran.

Sage Hill and Crean Lutheran split their head-to-head matches, but Thomassen said Sage Hill's strength of schedule put the Lightning over the top.

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As a result, Sage Hill is a No. 1 seed in the postseason for the first time in the program's history.

Sage Hill looks to make a third straight section final appearance. The Lightning finished runner-up in Division 3-A last year and won the Division 4-AA title two years ago.

Sage Hill is primed to make another run. The Lightning are one of four local schools in the playoffs, the others are Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor and Estancia.

The Sea Kings are the only other local top-four seeded team, receiving a No. 3 in Division 1-AA, the premier division. Newport Harbor is in Division 1-AA as well, while Estancia is in Division 1-A.

Each area program opens the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The Lightning (21-5) play host to Redlands Arrowhead Christian (9-8), the fifth-place team from the Ambassador League. Thomassen, in his 10th season at the helm of Sage Hill, didn't attend host Arrowhead Christian's 25-13, 25-11, 25-14 sweep of Riverside Ramona in Saturday's wild-card match. He plans to scout the rest of the competition in the later rounds.

Coach Steve Astor, in his first year in charge of CdM, has his Pacific Coast League champion Sea Kings (23-5) starting at home. They face Palos Verdes Peninsula (13-12), the fourth-place team out of the competitive Bay League. The Bay League is home to second-seeded Redondo Union (28-5), last year's runner-up, and Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (22-8), ranked No. 7 in the final Division 1-AA poll.

Newport Harbor (11-20), the third-place team from the Sunset League, travels to Temecula Great Oak (24-1), the Southwestern League Champion and No. 10 team in Division 1-AA. Great Oak's lone setback came against Corona Santiago (33-0), the top seed in Division 2-AA.

Estancia (9-16), the third-place team from the Orange Coast League, plays at Aliso Niguel (21-2). Coach Paul Muñoz' group has a tough one as the Wolverines are the Sea View League champions and ranked No. 9 in Division 1-A.

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