The Otay Ranch High School boys volleyball team will have the home field advantage in this year’s San Diego Section Division I playoffs after earning the No. 1 seed. The Mustangs (35-2) open defense of their division title ranked sixth in the nation.
Otay Ranch, which captured its seventh consecutive league title with a perfect 10-0 record in Mesa League play this season, will host ninth-seeded Eastlake in Saturday’s quarterfinals at 5 p.m.
The Titans (23-14) pulled a mild upset by eliminating the eighth-seeded Cougars (17-3) in Wednesday’s opening round.
Eastlake won in a five-game thriller 18-25, 22-25, 25-21, 25-16, 15-11.
With six you get ...
Six Metro Conference teams qualified for this year’s section playoffs. In a show of respect, four of the teams earned home games in their playoff openers.
Besides Otay Ranch and Eastlake in the Division I field, Montgomery, Mar Vista and Olympian all qualified in the Division III field while Mater Dei Catholic was tabbed in Division IV.
Montgomery, this year’s South Bay League champion, received the No. 5 seed and hosted 12th-seeded El Capitan in Wednesday’s division opener. The Aztecs (26-8) defeated the Vaqueros 26-24, 25-23, 25-21.
Kill leaders included Manny Paniagua (15) and Frank Del Rosario (11). Alex Diaz had 39 assists.
Mar Vista was seeded sixth and also drew a home game in Wednesday’s opening round, hosting 11th-seeded West Hills. The Mariners (19-9) won 25-11, 25-17, 25-16 behind 21 kills from Valtri Holland, 42 assists from Nico Medellin and 10 digs by Michael Brown.
Olympian was seeded seventh and hosted 10th-seeded Serra in Wednesday’s opening round, winning 25-20, 25-20, 25-19.
Mater Dei Catholic was seeded 10th and opened the playoffs at seventh-seeded Valley Center on Tuesday, dropping three straight 25-10, 25-10, 25-20 to the Jaguars (8-22).
The Crusaders finished the season 3-13 overall.
In Saturday’s quarterfinals, Montgomery is at fourth-seeded Del Norte (18-12), Mar Vista is at third-seeded Canyon Crest (23-10) while Olympian (19-15) is at second-seeded La Jolla (18-10).
Otay Ranch opens defense of its Division I championship ranked sixth in the nation after recording a meteoric runner-up finish at the recent Redondo Classic.
According to head coach Tony Fajardo, the Mustangs accomplished two things last week: winning the Mesa League championship and finishing undefeated in league play.
Saturday’s quarterfinal playoff game will double as Otay Ranch’s Senior Night. The Stampede, the Mustangs’ vocal student cheer section, expects to rock the gym as it did throughout last year’s magical playoff run.
The Division I semifinals are scheduled Wednesday, May 16, followed by finals May 19 at Cathedral Catholic High School.
Poway (21-11) is seeded second in the Division I bracket while Grossmont (29-5) is seeded third and Carlsbad (21-8) is seeded fourth.
The regional quarterfinals are scheduled May 22, followed by the regional semifinals May 24 and regional championship game May 26 at Irvine Valley College.
“Of course, we have to win each match to advance to the next round, so our boys will be very focused on one match at a time in our quest to win our second consecutive San Diego Section championship and our first Southern California regional championship,” Fajardo said.
METRO CONFERENCE STANDINGS
Otay Ranch 10-0 35-2
Eastlake 8-2 22-14
Bonita Vista 6-4 11-12
Olympian 4-6 18-15
Hilltop 2-8 14-18
Mater Dei Catholic 0-10 3-12
South Bay League
Montgomery 12-0 25-8
Mar Vista 10-2 18-9
Chula Vista 8-4 13-11
Sweetwater 6-6 8-19
Castle Park 3-9 3-9
Southwest 2-10 2-17
San Ysidro 1-11 1-14