Palo Alto gets its first No. 1 seed for CCS volleyball playoffs


By Keith Peters

Palo Alto Online Sports

Just one year ago, Palo Alto High girls' volleyball coach Dave Winn was hoping for a No. 3 seed for the Central Coast Section playoffs. On Saturday, Winn was expecting a No. 1 and got it.

So much has changed for the Vikings in such a short time. Thanks to an enrollment boost at school that elevated the team to Division I, facing Division II teams like Presentation, Mitty and St. Francis are no longer a concern for Winn.

If there is any concern, it's just maintaining the status quo as the top Division I team in the section.

"It was nice not to have any concerns going into this year's seeding meeting," Winn said. "I knew we had the No. 1 wrapped up and felt like we deserved it."

Palo Alto received its first No. 1 CCS seed in school history on Saturday and will take a 34-1 record into the second round on Saturday. The other seeded teams include No. 2 North Salinas (27-4), No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (20-7) and No. 4 Salinas (23-8).

Gunn (27-6), the SCVAL El Camino Division champ, received a No. 7 seed and will open Wednesday at home against No. 10 Homestead (12-18) of the SCVAL De Anza Division. Should the Titans win, they'll face North Salinas in the quarterfinals.

Palo Alto will take on the winner of No. 9 Watsonville (27-5) and No. 8 Monta Vista (15-13). The Vikings swept Monta Vista twice during the division season.

Paly went 36-5 last season, setting a school record for single-season victories while losing in the CCS Division II finals (to Mitty) and falling in the NorCal semifinals.

The Vikings will have the services of 6-foot-2 junior Maddie Kuppe for the postseason. She missed significant time over the last few weeks of the regular season with an injury.

"She did not have a stress fracture," Winn said, in regards to an earlier report on Kuppe's injury. "But she did have a decent amount of pain in her left leg, so we took the cautious stance of not playing her front row the past 3-4 weeks. Gradually we'll re-insert her into the front row based on her pain level. I'm optimistic about her chances of being a significant factor for us in the playoffs."

In the Division IV playoffs, No. 5 Menlo School (20-15) will open Wednesday at No. 12 Half Moon Bay (25-5) at 7 p.m. Despite being a lower seed, the Cougars get to host after winning a league title.

The winner of that match will face No. 4 Sacred Heart Prep (18-10) in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The top seed in the division is Soquel (26-6), which is in SHP's half of the bracket.

Castilleja (25-8) is the lone local team in Division V, receiving the No. 1 seed. The Gators will face No. 8 Alma Heights (Pacifica) in the quarterfinals on Saturday. The No. 2 seed is Mt. Madonna, a team that Castilleja has defeated twice this season.

All the CCS finals will be held on Saturday, Nov. 20 at Independence High in San Jose.


First round (Wednesday)

No. 6 San Benito (17-18) at No. 11 Silver Creek (22-9), 7 p.m.

Ho. 10 Homestead (12-18) at No. 7 Gunn (27-6), 7 p.m.

No. 12 Gilroy (15-12) at No. 5 Carlmont (19-13), 7 p.m.

No. 8 Monta Vista (15-13) at No. 9 Watsonville (27-5), 7 p.m.

Quarterfinals on Saturday


First round (Wednesday)

No. 11 Mercy-San Francisco (22-9) at No. 6 Carmel (20-12), 7 p.m.

No. 10 Harbor (17-18) at No. 7 King City (18-9), 7 p.m.

No. 5 Menlo School (20-15) at No. 12 Half Moon Bay (25-5), 7 p.m.

No. 9 Notre Dame-Salinas (20-13) at No. 8 Harker (14-11), 7 p.m.

Quarterfinals on Saturday


Quarterfinals (Saturday)

No. 1 Castilleja (25-8) vs. No. 8 Alma Heights (13-8)

No. 2 Mt. Madonna (23-8) vs. No. 7 Pacific Collegiate (15-6)

No. 3 Crystal Springs (19-9) vs. No. 6 St. Thomas More (21-12)

No. 4 Santa Catalina (16-10) vs. No. 5 Anzar (16-9)

Times and sites will be determined later


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