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Foothill, U-Prep, West Valley all land in NorCal D-III bracket, all on road

U-Prep earned a No. 14 seed in the NorCal Division III playoffs as brackets were announced Sunday by the CIF. The Panthers, who won their first section title beting West Valley in three, travels to Oakland to take on No. 4 Head-Royce. The Eagles and Foothill are both in the D-III bracket along with U-Prep. (Photo by Eddie Saltzman)

If there’s going to be another NorCal volleyball run, it might come on the road.

Northern Section Division III champions Foothill and D-IV winners U-Prep open their state volleyball runs on the road along with D-IV runner-up West Valley, as all three teams are playing in the same NorCal Division III bracket.

Foothill is the 13-seed and travels to No. 4 Hillmar (San Mateo), which finished 19-12. U-Prep is the N0. 14 seed and heads to Oakland to play Head-Royce, which lost in the North Coast Section Division IV finals to University of San Francisco. The Jayhawks are 22-3 on the season.

West Valley, the section D-IV runner up, drew the No. 15 seed and plays Burlingame (23-11).

Cougars’ coach Pablo Lana said the three North State teams being in Division III was a bit of a surprise.

“If you look, we had the same record as Shasta last year when they made their NorCal run and we have the same record as them but we move up,” he said, referring to the fact that the Wolves’ NorCal finals run was in Division IV. “I kind of figured we’d have a low D-III seed, but moving U-Prep and West Valley up doesn’t make much sense.”

Unless, he said, you take into account that the Panthers own wins over Foothill, three over West Valley, Chico and Oak Ridge.

“I like how U-Prep is playing though,” Lana said. “They’re on fire right now.”

As for his match against The Fighting Irish?

“I’ll have to talk to JJ (Pleasant Valley coach John Mitchell), he’s the traveling man who knows all these team,” Lana said. “I know they’re middle of the road in their division, but other than that I know nothing about them.”

The Vikings, meanwhile, moved up to the Division I bracket, earned a 5-seed and host No. 12 Cosumnes Oaks. Chico, which was runner up to the Vikings, did not get a NorCal invite. Nor did Shasta, the runner up to Foothill.

“I’m thinking our strength was shown in the runs by Shasta and U-Prep last year,” Lana said. “Maybe they (the state) went ‘the North State is a little stronger.’ All of us traveling out of the section and getting good wins. But I am surprised Chico isn’t getting to go and Shasta, too.”

In Division VI, Fall River earned a No. 2 seed and home game against Calistoga, while Burney – which was runner up to the Bulldogs, also earned a home payoff game as a No. 4 seed taking on No. 5 Fremont Christian.

In the NorCal Division V bracket, Colusa earned a three-seed against No. 14 Skyline (Oakland), while East Nicolaus is a 15-seed and travels to No. 2 Nueva School (San Mateo), and Los Molinos is a 13-seed and heds to No. 4 Colfax.

In Division IV, Pierce is the 13-seed and draws No. 4 Roseland University Prep (Santa Rosa).

“It’s good to see teams getting in,” Lana said. “With the teams moving up to Open Division, it’s not like it was before when it was Bloody Tuesday.”

Foothill senior Caitlin Milligan (17) keeps a close eye on the ball looking to knock it past Shasta’s Courtney Oilar (12) in the D3 championship game played in Red Bluff Saturday night. The Cougars earned a 13-seed in the NorCal D-III playoffs. (Photo by Eddie Saltzman)

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. In addition to coaching freshman football, Williams is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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