Eight Catholic high school girls’ volleyball teams will be part of the top group of the CIF-Southern Section’s realigned divisional setup when the 2018 opens Aug. 13.

The scoring system used to determine divisional placements for high schools revealed that the top three scores (accumulated over a two-year span) were earned by Catholic teams, all of whom are now in the 51-team Divisions 1 and 2 grouping. They are: 

---Mater Dei, winner of the 2017 CIF-SS D-1 and SoCal Regional Open Division championships, and state Open Division runner-up.

---Marymount, D-1 runner-up and No. 1 in the final 2017 regular season D-1 poll.

---Santa Margarita, SoCal Regional D-I champion and state D-I runner-up.

---La Salle, the 2017 Division 3 runner-up and regular season No. 1, moves into the D-1/D-2 grouping. Other Catholic schools teams in D-1/D-2 are Flintridge Sacred Heart, J.Serra, Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks and St. Joseph/Lakewood.

Overall, the number of divisions has been reduced from 10 in 2017 to nine this season, the CIF-SS reported. “Last year across all divisions we had a total of 17 byes for the ten playoff brackets,” officials noted in a statement. “We also have 13 schools from the northern part of the Southern Section [including St. Joseph in Santa Maria] leaving to join the Central Section.” 

Of these 13 schools, seven were automatic qualifiers, thus bringing the potential “bye” total to 24. Therefore, a reduction in the total number of playoff divisions was necessary, officials said. 

At the top of the rankings will be the Divisions 1 and 2 playoff grouping. Throughout the season results will be collected and reviewed to track and rank the weekly top 10. 

At the last seeding meeting on Oct. 12, using the power ranking system and committee determination, the top 16 teams from the combined list will make up the Division 1 playoff bracket, and Division 2 will have a 32-team bracket.

St. Paul, Alemany now D-3

St. Paul, the defending Division 5 champion (and SoCal D-III runner-up), is now in Division 3, along with Alemany (No. 2 in D-4 last year), Louisville, Notre Dame Academy, Rosary and St. Lucy’s. Other Catholic schools are placed as follows:

---Division 4: La Reina (No. 1 in the final 2017 D-5 poll), Bishop Montgomery, Chaminade, Immaculate Heart and Mayfield.

---Division 5: Bishop Amat (No. 1 in the final 2017 D-6 poll), Serra and St. Anthony.

---Division 6: Paraclete, Pomona Catholic, St. Genevieve and St. Monica/Santa Monica.

---Division 7: Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary, Mary Star of the Sea, Providence/Burbank, Sacred Heart, St. Bonaventure, St. Mary’s Academy and St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy.

---Division 8: Bishop Conaty-Loretto, Bishop Diego, Cornelia Connelly, Holy Family, San Gabriel Mission, St. Bernard, St. Monica Academy/Montrose and Villanova Prep.

---Division 9: Alverno Heights Academy, Ramona Convent and Santa Clara.

Individual stars return

Four All CIF-SS first team selections in 2017 (two of them Maxpreps All-Americans) will be back in 2018 for their respective teams:

---Devon Newberry, Marymount senior (D-1), a Maxpreps’ Underclass All-American).

---Mia Tuaniga, Mater Dei junior (D-1), a Maxpreps Sophomore All-American).

---Joy Lee, St. Paul senior (D-5).

---Meghann Velasquez, Holy Family junior (D-9).