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Renegade women's volleyball earns top seed in regional playoff bracket

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The California Community College Athletic Association released brackets for its regional women's volleyball playoffs, which precede the state championship tournament at Fresno City College that takes place from Dec. 3-5.

The Bakersfield Renegades were rewarded for a 20-1 season with a No. 1 seed in the Southern California bracket, and will play their first playoff game Tuesday.

BC went unbeaten in the South division of the Western State Conference with a 12-0 record and defeated North winners Moorpark 3-0 in a postseason “crossover" match Tuesday to improve its playoff positioning.

The Renegades' lone loss in the 2021 season came Sept. 4, when they were swept in Santa Barbara by San Diego Mesa. The Lady Olympians, who suffered three early-season losses of their own, are a No. 3 seed in the SoCal bracket at 20-4, behind BC and Pasadena City.

Since their loss, the Renegades have won 17 straight. They also still haven’t lost a game at home in four years, with their last defeat coming against El Camino on Nov. 21, 2017.

This time, the Renegades will play the lowest seed to emerge from Saturday’s play-in round, meaning their opponent Tuesday could be any of No. 16 Cuesta (14-10), No. 17 Fullerton (15-12) or No. 18 Mt. San Jacinto (17-5). BC swept Cuesta on Nov. 6 behind 18 kills from Kami Marion.

The Renegades, who were ranked No. 4 overall in the last CCCAA poll on Nov. 15, have consistently been one of the best teams in the state both offensively and defensively. They have the fourth-best hitting percentage and second-highest digs per set of any team. BC is a little weaker around the net on defense, averaging just 1.57 blocks per set, good for 22nd.

Outside hitter Marion leads the team with 3.59 kills per set but is doing so with a hitting percentage of just .227, while middle blockers Aly Dees and Tia Jules are second and third in kills but have picked their shots more judiciously, with percentages of .372 and .447. Libero Yuliana Rivera is far and away the team’s digs leader with 5.42 per set and also leads the Renegades in aces.

No Renegade garnered a player-of-the-week distinction from the CCCAA this season, although after the unbeaten abbreviated spring season, Dees and coach Carl Ferreira earned honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

If BC can get through its first-round opponent Tuesday and beat either Mt. San Antonio or Orange Coast on Nov. 27, it will advance to state as one of eight remaining teams. There, the Renegades may have to contend with NorCal powerhouses like 2019 champions No. 1 Feather River (29-1) and hosts No. 3 Fresno City (28-3). Notably, despite going 13-8 with a similar strength of schedule to some low-seeded teams, Taft, under first-year coach Mallori Rossi, was not included in the bracket.

BC announced that it will host its first game Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Renegades will know their opponent after Saturday.

Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.

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