If there was any doubt to whether the Palo Alto girls' volleyball team is deserving of its lofty early season national rankings, it was put to rest on Monday when the brackets for the annual Mitty Invitational were released.
"We got the No. 1 overall seed!" wrote Paly coach Dave Winn. "If there was any doubt before, it's gone now . . . the target is squarely on our backs!"
Palo Alto (10-0), the defending CIF Division I state champion, will be making only its second appearance in the prestigious Mitty event that includes four teams ranked among the top 25 in the nation in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25.
Palo Alto is No. 4 in this week's rankings while Cardinal Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.) is No. 5, Dos Pueblos (Goleta) is No. 20 and Presentation (San Jose) is No. 24.
"This is definitely a huge honor for us and we're going to work very hard in this tournament to learn against some of the best teams in the country," Winn said.
The top-seeded Vikings will open on Friday against No. 16 seeded Santa Ynez at 4 p.m. That winner will face either No. 8 Frontier or No. 9 Santa Barbara at 8 p.m.
Should Palo Alto advance to Saturday, it could face No. 4 Presentation in a rematch of last Wednesday's showdown won by Paly. That match would be at noon. Another possible opponent could be No. 5 Santa Margarita.
Three wins would put Palo Alto in the championship match at 6 p.m. The opposite bracket features No. 2 seed Cardinal Gibbons, No. 3 Dos Pueblos, No. 6 St. Francis (Mountain View) and No. 7 Mitty, among others.
Palo Alto, which first will play host to Sacred Heart Prep on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m., could bring a 26-match winning streak -- dating to last season -- into the Mitty tourney. The Vikings established the school record of 26 straight wins to open last season.
In other news, Palo Alto senior Melanie Wade has been selected as the No. 17 player among the nation's top 100 on the Prepvolleyball.com Senior Aces list.
Joining Wade among the nation's top 250 players were teammates Maddie Kuppe and Kimmy Whitson. Also on the list is Stanford-bound Brittany Howard of Mountain View, who is ranked No. 12, and Castilleja senior Hannah Boland, also among the top 250 players.
Note: Berkeley Prep of Tampa, Fla., is the nation's No. 3 team, according to MaxPreps, and features Stanford-bound Jordan Burgess. She had 15 kills, 19 digs and six blocks in a victory over Palm Harbor University last week. Burgess added 12 kills in another victory later in the week.