Palo Alto volleyball team receives a No. 10 national ranking


The Palo Alto girls' volleyball team not only will finish the 2010 season as the CIF Division I state champion, but also as one of the top teams in the nation.

On Thursday, the final national rankings were released and the Vikings were ranked No. 10 in the nation following their remarkable, school record-breaking 41-1 season.

"Of course, this is by far the highest final ranking Paly volleyball has ever achieved," said Paly head coach Dave Winn. "I know that's owner, John Tawa, is the most respected resource for high school volleyball ranking in the country, so it's quite an honor to have earned this result."

Tawa was on hand Saturday to watch Palo Alto upend Long Beach Poly for the California state Division I title. The Jackrabbits wound up ranked No. 12 nationally.

Palo Alto also has been ranked as high as No. 2 nationally by the Freeman Rankings on and ESPN Rise has the Vikings at No. 5. Winn, however, believes that is the accurate ranking and has no problem accepting a No. 10 national ranking.

St. Francis, which won the state Division II title on Saturday at San Jose State, was ranked No. 1 nationally by MaxPreps but only No. 27 by Presentation, which earlier was ranked No. 1 nationally in the Freeman Rankings, finished No. 28 by Yerington (Nevada), the Nevada 2A state champion with a 37-1 record, wound up ranked No. 100 by It's only loss was to Palo Alto.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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Like this comment
Posted by Ezekiel
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 10, 2010 at 9:41 am

Outstanding performance! Congratulations
Is there a simple explanation for why--after going 41 and 1, beating the number 1 team--Paly isn't number 1? Just curious.

Like this comment
Posted by Paly VB
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm

The team that Paly beat, Long Beach Poly, was No. 1 in one poll but only No. 7 in the one that really counts, There were other teams in America with better records than Paly and ended up ranked higher. The poll (MaxPreps) that ranked Long Beach Poly No. 1 before the state finals, ranked St. Francis and Paly No. 1 and 2, respectively, in the NATION after the state finals. That poll, however, isn't as scientific or carries as much weight at the poll. Like in college football, the Associated Press Top 25 generally is regarded as THE poll ahead of the others.

Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2010 at 4:01 pm

"There were other teams in America with better records than Paly and ended up ranked higher" So curious how many of these teams had records better than 41-1 and winning a major State Championship...

Like this comment
Posted by Coach Dave
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 10, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Rankings are always subjective. We're just thrilled to even be in the conversation of being ranked in the top 25 teams in the country, let alone #10. It reflects on the hard work and great results our girls have achieved this year. In case folks were wondering about who else was in's top 10, the list is below with some notes. I can't publish more since prepvolleyball is a subscription site and don't want to infringe on the owner's license rights. Suffice it to say that all the teams ahead of Paly in the rankings are definitely deserving of their rank and are insanely good volleyball programs. Regards, Coach Dave

1. St. James (Lenexa, Kansas)
Final record: 44-1
Three-time reigning Kansas 4A champs are first from state to cop national title. The Thunder did it by playing an aggressive schedule and getting the job done with wall-to-wall defense, a smart setter and two tremendous left side attackers, both of who are seniors.

2. Burris (Muncie, Indiana)
Final record: 39-0
Though Burris replaced legendary coach Steve Shondell with first-year coach Thanh Harnish, the Owls did not miss a beat, completing their second straight unbeaten season while capturing their 14th consecutive state title. Eight seniors graduate off of that team, but the state’s top player, Taylor Morey, is one of three key returnees.

3. Papillion-La Vista South (Papillion, Nebraska)
Final record: 41-0
The Class A champion Titans became the first large-class school to go through a season unbeaten in 38 years. The team was led by three sophomores, Amber Rolfzen, Kadie Rolfzen and Kelly Hunter, all considered among the state’s top 10 players. Combine that trio with a superstar coach like Gwen Egbert and there’s no reason that Papillion South shouldn’t be at or near the top of these rankings for the next two years.

4. Lyons Township (La Grange, Illinois)
Final record: 41-1
After two seasons in the Illinois 4A finals, runners up in 2009, champions this year, the Lions will be hard-pressed to do it again in 2011 after graduating 10, including All America OH Jocelynn Birks, who is second in school history in career kills. Juniors Alexis Viliunas, Laura Williams and Megan Miller are a nice nucleus to work around, however. The team’s 2010 motto was," The Storm is here!!" and they certainly took the state championship by storm, defeating Cary-Grove in an exciting state final match. I guess that mean’s next year’s theme will be “After the Storm.”

5. Cary-Grove (Cary, Illinois)
Final record: 41-1
Considered the best team in the nation for much of the year, the Trojans stumbled in the state final, losing to Lyons Township. Patty Langanis’ team graduates superstars Colleen Smith and Kelly Lamberti plus two other key starters, but the cupboard is far from bare. With Ashley Rosch and Melanie Jereb leading the way, another deep run in the Illinois state playoffs is likely in 2011.

6. Mount Vernon (Iowa)
Final record: 41-0
Small-town Iowa may never see the likes of this team again, a squad of tall, ultra-athletic players who dominated every sport they played.

7. Assumption (Louisville, Kentucky)
Final record: 39-4
After a two-year hiatus from the state tournament, the Rockets captured state again in 2010 behind a nucleus of six senior starters. Katie George and three tall middles will lead the quest for a repeat in 2011.

8. La Jolla Country Day (California)
Final record: 33-3
After La Jolla Country Day won its second straight California Division IV title on Saturday, coach Peter Ogle called his Torreys the best team he has coached in 33 years at the school. Five senior starters, including four with Division I plans for next season, will graduate. Kendall Peterkin, Maya Hood and Sheridan Rice will lead next year’s effort for a third title in a row.

9. Pope (Marietta, Georgia)
Final record: 54-1
After two state titles in a row, coach Bryan Jones will bid farewell to a special group of seniors who went 194-11 in four years in Greyhound uniforms. The team was especially dominant in 2010, winning 116 sets while losing only seven. Pope has won 10 consecutive tournaments over the course of two years. Georgia 4A Player of the Year Mary Hannah Arrington is one of five key returnees.

10. Palo Alto (California)
Final record: 41-1
With the score tied at 15-15 in Game 5 of Saturday’s California Division I final, Maddie Kuppe delivered back to back aces to give the Vikings their first title in stunning fashion over Long Beach Poly. Paly, whose theme for the year was “Carpe Season,” set a school record for most wins and fewest losses. The Vikings graduate two terrific seniors, but their best players will return in 2011.

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