The Mater Dei Monarchs and Paraclete Spirits each received No. 1 rankings in their respective divisions according to the initial CIF-Southern Section football polls released Aug. 21, just prior to the start of the regular season for most high school teams this week.
In Division 1, Mater Dei is followed by St. John Bosco (2), Serra of Gardena (4), Chaminade (5) and J.Serra (7) among Catholic schools that are ranked. St. John Bosco won the 2016 state Open Division title after beating Mater Dei to win the CIF-SS Division 1 championship.
Paraclete tops the Division 5 rankings, with St. Joseph of Santa Maria (4) and Salesian (10) also in the top 10. Paraclete won last year’s CIF-SS Division 6 title and the 3-AA state championship.
Elsewhere, St. Francis is seventh and Crespi ninth in Division 3; St. Paul fourth and Bishop Diego ninth in Division 6; La Salle third in Division 8; and St. Anthony (last year’s CIF Division 10 champ) third in Division 9.
In girls’ volleyball, the pre-season “Teams to Watch” include Marymount, Mater Dei and Santa Margarita among the Division 1 schools, with Bishop Montgomery, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks), St. Joseph (Lakewood) included in Division 2 favorites. The regular season begins later this month, with top 10 polls resuming at that time.
Other Catholic “teams to watch” include La Salle, Notre Dame Academy and St. Lucy’s (Division 3); Alemany and Mayfield (D-4); La Reina, St. Anthony and St. Paul (D-5); St. Monica of Santa Monica (D-6); Providence (D-8); Ramona Convent and Villanova Prep (D-9); and Alverno Heights Academy (D-10).
Boys’ water polo “Teams to Watch” include Loyola, Mater Dei and Santa Margarita for Divisions 1 and 2 (which will be separated come playoff time), Crespi in Division 3, St. John Bosco in Division 4, and La Salle in Division 7.