Buchanan leads power-packed field in Karch Kiraly TOC

The lineup of teams entered in the 2014 Santa Barbara/Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions makes the event look like a state tournament.

The 16-team field features powerhouse programs from the San Diego, Southern, Central, Central Coast and North Coast sections of the CIF.


Buchanan of Fresno tops the power-packed bracket. The Bears (13-3) return several players off last year’s Division 1 Central Section finalist team, including kill leaders 6-3 Wesley Arnold and 6-10 Patrick Gasman. The team is coming off a championship at the Las Vegas Easter Invitational. Earlier, it finished second at the Best of the West in Poway, falling to Huntington Beach in the final.

Once-beaten San Marcos is the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The senior-laden Royals, ranked No. 1 in Division 2 of the Southern Section, are led by outside hitter Shane Hauschild and setter Christian Widmer.

Defending tournament champion Mira Costa (8-3) is the No. 3 seed and defending CIF-SS Division 2 champion Esperanza is the fourth seed. The Aztecs will have star player Jake Arnitz back in the lineup. The UCLA commit returned from a back injury last week and blasted 29 kills in his first match.

The two-day tournament also features Campolindo, the three-time defending North Coast Section Division 2 champion, and Central Coast Section powers Mountain View, Bellarmine Prep and Saint Francis.

Representing San Diego is La Costa Canyon, the defending section champion in Division 2

Rounding out the field are host Santa Barbara, Dos Pueblos and Santa Ynez, along with Newport Harbor, Valencia, West Ranch and Royal.

The teams will play best-of-five matches. First-round action begins at 11 a.m. at J.R. Richards Gym. The second-round winner’s bracket matches begin at 6 p.m. Friday’s consolation round will be played at San Marcos at 6 p.m.

The championship semifinals are at 10:45 a.m. Saturday and the title match is scheduled for 6:15 p.m., at Santa Barbara.