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Avalon Long Beach Poly Volleyball

Long Road For Long Beach Poly In CIF State Volleyball Bracket

The CIF State girls’ volleyball playoff brackets were released Sunday evening, and they reveal a very long road for Long Beach Poly. The Jackrabbits are competing in the Division 1 bracket, where they’re seeded No. 9, and will open the playoffs on the road against No. 8 Liberty, in Bakersfield Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.

“Yeah there are a lot of curse words in my thought bubble,” said Poly coach Leland McGrath.

It’s a large logistical challenge. The brackets were released Sunday, leaving about 36 hours to plan for the long bus trip on Tuesday. The team will need to leave school early that day, and with a midnight return time, will be short on sleep Wednesday.

There’s also the matter of booking a bus, not easy with Nov. 11 being a holiday that will close the LBUSD.

If the Jackrabbits win, they’d face the winner of No. 1 Sierra Canyon and Esperanza on Thursday, most likely traveling to Chatsworth to play Sierra Canyon. In the CIF State bracket, the higher seed always hosts.

Poly earned their way into the state bracket by making the Division 1 field in the CIF-SS playoffs, but with a first-round exit, the Jackrabbits have gone two and a half weeks since their last match. McGrath gave the team some time off volleyball to avoid practice burnout, and the team lifted weights and played dodgeball to blow off steam.

“They were gunning for each other, I’ve never seen them go all out as hard as they did when it’s dodgeball,” said McGrath. “It’s just a different vibe now. The girls competed well in the last match, considering only three of them had ever been in a playoff match. I think they’re ready to go.”


Avalon High had the honor of hosting a CIF-SS semifinal and championship last week.

For the first time in school history the Lancers earned their way into a championship match after defeating Mesa Grande in a five-set thriller, 24-26, 25-17, 23-25, 25-22, 15-13.

The Lancers were led by 13 kills and 14 digs from Daniella Moreno, 28 digs from libero Yuliana Vega, and seven aces from Gisselle Rodriguez.

“These girls have been working hard for four months for this moment and they played their hearts out tonight,” said Avalon coach Carlos Martinez. “To have the whole community behind us was something truly special. It’s a moment none of them will forget.”

The Lancers came up short in the championship in a sweep defeat to Cornerstone Christian.

Avalon will compete in the state playoffs in Division 5 as the No. 10 seed, traveling to No. 5 Rowland High.


Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.