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HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS: League champs Liberty, BCHS and Chavez have tough road; Stockdale and Taft are top seeds

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Stockdale's Taylor Henderson returns the ball against Frontier earlier this season. The Mustangs are the No. 1 seed for the Central Section Division II volleyball playoffs that start on Tuesday.

Winning a league title doesn’t always equate to receiving a favorable path in the postseason.

That’s certainly true with this year’s volleyball seedings, which were decided primarily by a computer ranking system for the first time this season. The system assigned each team a rating based on their performance and strength of schedule, with the top eight teams slotted in Division I and the remaining four 16-team divisions filled in based on each school’s overall rank.

Of the area’s four major leagues, Southwest Yosemite, Southeast Yosemite, South Yosemite and South Sequoia, only one of this year’s champions earned a first-round home game, SEYL champion East — despite the fact the teams were a combined 41-0 in league play this season.

The Blades received the most love by the computer rankings, earning the No 2 seed in Division IV, and will host No. 15 Madera-Liberty on Tuesday.

SWYL champion Liberty (22-4) is the No. 7 seed in Division I and will travel to play at No. 2 Clovis North (27-8) on Thursday as part of the lone eight-team bracket. Centennial (23-7-1), which finished second to the Patriots, is seeded No. 8 and will play at No. 1 Clovis West (30-7), the TRAC champion.

Bakersfield Christian (14-11), the SYL champion, was seeded No. 10 in Division II and will play at No. 6 Sanger (28-8-1), the County Metro League champ, on Tuesday. The Eagles are the defending D-II champion.

SSL champion Chavez (24-2-1) is the No. 16 seed and earned the right to play one the area’s few top-seeds, Stockdale (23-12), in the opening round of the D-II playoffs on Tuesday. The Mustangs, who lost to BCHS in the D-II finals in 2019, finished third in the SWYL this season.

Taft (17-13-1), which finished third in the SSL, is the top seed in Division V and will host SEYL runner-up Highland (12-10) for a first-round match on Tuesday.

In addition to East, Stockdale and Taft, six other area teams will open the postseason with a first-round home game.

In Division IV, SSL runner-up McFarland (16-7) is the No. 7 seed and will play No. 10 Immanuel Christian (19-6-2), with No. 8 Garces (9-11) hosting No. 9 Porterville (11-11).

No. 2 Rosamond, No. 6 Arvin (16-12), No. 7 Wasco (13-12-1) and No. 8 Wonderful Prep (17-6-1) will have home games in Division V. All matches are tentatively scheduled to start at 6 p.m.