The Del Norte volleyball team was included in the field of the California Interscholastic Federation’s State Tournament for the first time in school history when brackets were released on Sunday, and the Warriors appear to have garnered a fairly favorable seed.
Del Norte will be the No. 2 seed in the Division IV tournament’s northern bracket and will host No. 15 University Prep on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Thunen Gymnasium.
Prior to Sunday, the Warriors had no idea what seed, or even what division they would be placed in.
“It is a nice seed. I am not sure how they do the seeding, or how we got it, but we will take it,” said Del Norte head coach Debbie Lorenzi. “(The players) were totally excited about it. We didn’t know if we were going to get put up a division or where they were going to go.”
Once teams get to the CIF Tournament, the state can reclassify teams and move them into various divisions. For example — Branson, which beat Del Norte in the North Coast Section semifinals, was named the No. 7 seed in the Division I tournament.
The CIF elected to keep the Warriors in division IV, but rewarded Del Norte’s 29-3 overall record with a high seed in the bracket. That high seed also guarantees that the Warriors will be playing at home for three rounds if they can win at least two games.
“It is big when you don’t have to travel five or six hours and walk into a whole new atmosphere,” Lorenzi said. “It is big to have your home crowd, and to get to sleep in your own bed the night before. On the other hand, I think everybody is pretty good because they are all at the top of their division, so we can’t underestimate even a number 15 seed. There’s a reason they are in the tournament.”
University Prep comes into the CIF Tournament with a 26-6 overall record and an 8-2 mark and second-place finish in the Northern League. They were knocked out of the Northern Section semifinals by Willows on Nov. 2.
“I just know that they have a couple outside hitters that can annihilate the ball, that is the definition that I have heard,” Lorenzi said. “We will see if it is any harder than what we are used to.”
Lorenzi said she expects to have Payten Healy available for as long as the Warriors remain in the CIF Tournament, though the senior setter will still be slowed after hurting her ankle late in the regular season.
“She is not going to be back at 100 percent, so we are trying to figure out how to cover for her on defense, because that is her weak spot with that injury,” Lorenzi said. “Volleyball is a lot of stop and go, and that is what gets her, especially on defense. We have given her a few days rest, and I have been resting her in practice, so we will just see what she can do.”
Del Norte has never competed in the state tournament before, but Lorenzi said the Warriors are ready to give their all.
“We are new to this tournament, so we will see,” she said. “I would like to win it, so we are going to try the best we can, prepare the best we can, and whatever happens, happens.”
Tickets for the CIF Tournament will be $9 for adults and $5 for kids. No season passes will be accepted.