GVB: Talent-rich Torrey Pines leads 16-team field for TOC

The Torrey Pines girls volleyball team is stocked with so much talent it probably could field two strong varsity teams.

The Falcons soar into this weekend’s Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions as the No. 1 team in the state and seventh ranked in the nation by MaxPreps. Their roster features nine players who have committed to NCAA Division 1 schools, led by UCLA-bound Savvy Simo.


The Tournament of Champions features a powerhouse field of 16 teams playing best-of-five matches over two days. First-round matches begin at 11 a.m. Friday and run all day at Santa Barbara High’s J.R. Richards Gym; there are some consolation round matches at San Marcos. The semifinals are slated for 10:45 a.m. on Saturday and the championship match is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara and San Marcos are the local teams entered. The host Dons open against No. 2 seed Great Oak of Temecula at 4:15 p.m. San Marcos plays No. 4 Mater Dei at 12:45 p.m.

The tournament includes 11-time State Division 2 champion Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, the alma mater of three-time Olympic champion Kerri Walsh. Mitty, which won the tournament in 2013 and reached the semifinals last year, is seeded third.

Rounding out the field are defending champion Mira Costa, San Jose-Presentation, San Diego-La Costa Canyon, Corona del Mar, San Diego-Cathedral Catholic, Mountain View-Saint Francis, San Diego-Westview, Newport Harbor, Arroyo Grande and Santa Cruz-Harbor High.

Simo is one of three players for Torrey Pines with more than 100 kills this season — she has 223 with a hitting percentage of an impressive .468. Boston College-bound Julian Strockis has 177 kills with a .448 average and Alexis Filippone, a future Pepperdine Wave, has 134 and is hitting at a robust .473 clip. The team hitting average is .293.

Torrey Pines won the California Challenge title, beating TOC No. 2 seed Great Oak of Temecula in the final. The Falcons are 25-1, with their only loss coming against Assumption of Louisville, Ky. , at the Durango Classic in Las Vegas. They would love to add a TOC championship plaque to their trophy case. They lost in last year’s final to Mira Costa.

Great Oak (17-2) started the week ranked No. 1 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA poll, No. 3 in the state and 14th in the country. The Wolfpack are coming off a five-set loss to Chaparral. They are led by Duke-bound setter Cindy Marina and Arizona State commit Bailee Huizenga, a 6-2 opposite.

Mitty, which lost to Mira Costa in last year’s final, has two outstanding setters in Lauren Speckman and Tessie Powers, who each have nearly 400 assists. Five Monarchs have recorded more than 100 kills, led by 5-10 sophomore Nicole Liddle with 218. Mitty (23-4) is No. 2 in the state and ninth in the nation.

Fourth-seeded Mater Dei (19-5) is ranked 13th in the state and No. 5 in Orange County. The Monarchs are led by a pair of juniors, 6-2 Shannon Scully and 6-0 Rachel Ritchie. They’ll battle it out with San Marcos power hitter and UCSB commit Chloe Allen.

The other state-ranked teams in the field are Cathedral Catholic at No. 6, Corona del Mar 9th, Mira Costa 15th and Saint Francis 17th.

First Round
Upper Bracket
Torrey Pines vs. Harbor, S.C, 11 a.m.
Presentation vs. Arroyo Grande, 11 a.m.
Corona del Mar vs. La Costa Canyon, 12:45
Mater Dei vs. San Marcos, 12:45
Championship quarterfinals, 6 p.m.
Consolation bracket, 6 p.m. at San Marcos

Lower Bracket
Archbishop Mitty vs. Newport Harbor, 2:30 p.m.
Mira Costa vs. Westview, 2:20 p.m.
Cathedral Catholic vs. Saint Francis, 4:15 p.m.
Great Oak vs. Santa Barbara, 4:15 p.m.
Championship quarterfinals, 7:45 p.m.
Consolation bracket, 7:45 p.m. at San Marcos

Championship Semifinals, 10:45 a.m., SBHS
Consolation Semifinals, 10:45 a.m. San Marcos
Consolation final, 6:15 p.m., SBHS
Championship, 6:15 p.m., SBHS