For eight straight years only one Marmonte League girls volleyball team was a force to be dealt with in the Southern Section 2-A Division playoffs.
The good news is that Royal High, the perennial Marmonte champion, will not be a threat. It did not qualify for postseason play. The bad news is that the league has three strong representatives when the tournament begins Thursday.
"It's absolutely Marmonte," said Westlake Coach Dave Rubio. "Until we meet someone from the Marmonte league, I'm not that worried."
Thousand Oaks, which was 1-11 last season, tied a surprising Simi Valley at 9-3 for the league title. Both teams have home matches in the first round--Montclair at Simi Valley and Rio Grande at Thousand Oaks. The league's third-place team, Westlake, will travel to La Mirada.
The power of the league was evident when Westlake (8-4) and Thousand Oaks had early victories over 4-A playoff-bound Louisville "which kind of gives you an idea of the strength of the Marmonte League," Rubio said.
San Fernando Valley League champion Louisville (10-0), led by senior setter Tina Kohler and middle blocker Nancy Hawkins, will play Notre Dame Academy tonight at 7:30. It is a rematch of a second-round playoff last year in which Louisville lost.
"We need to put the ball to Tina more on the outside and use her to hit around the big blockers," Louisville Coach Barbara Gomperz said. "She's our team leader all the way."
The San Fernando Valley League's second- and third-place teams, Notre Dame (which meets Marymount) and Chaminade (which meets Glendale), travel tonight.
"I expect them to be somewhat like a Louisville--very competitive," Chaminade Coach Mike Lynn said. "I think we have a realistic chance of playing with them."
In the 3-A Division, sixth-ranked Calabasas (5-3), led by senior middle blockers Sandi Thomsen and Tracey Gonzales, will have a realistic chance of bettering last season's eighth-place finish.
Calabasas (6-2) also will be represented in the 2-A water polo playoffs, which begin today. The Coyotes tied with Harvard in the Frontier League. Harvard, ranked 10th in the 2-A, will rely on goalie Mark Patterson, Ivan El-Sayed and Fred Brende to get the Saracens past Arroyo Grande in today's first round.
In the 3-A Division, Crespi finished second in the Del Rey League behind the play of high scoring seniors David Scott and Chappie DeHaven and two-meter man Andy Carbonell. Three other Valley teams, all from the Marmonte League, reached the 3-A playoffs.
Royal (7-1), which won its seventh straight Marmonte title with a victory over Thousand Oaks on the final day of the regular season, will host Hoover. Thousand Oaks (6-2) will play Glendale and Newbury Park (4-4) will travel to Dos Pueblos of Goleta.