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   Well, it happened. The calendar finally turned over to September, football is being played under brilliant sunsets and the fall season is officially...

   Well, it happened. The calendar finally turned over to September, football is being played under brilliant sunsets and the fall season is officially upon us. 

   Not that we’re complaining. 

   We love finding fun summer stories to fill the gap between school years, but few things charge us up more than a new season of competition to start covering. We’ve already showed that passion with a jam-packed football preview that came out Aug. 21. If you haven’t seen one yet, you can still view it on 

   This issue, however, we begin to turn the focus a bit and showcase something other than football. Volleyball gets the spotlight. And if there is one sport in which NorCal has really held its own in recent years, it’s girls volleyball.

   Over the past four years, Northern California has won 13 of the 20 state championships contested, including three in 2013. It’s a better winning percentage than an any other team sport at the state level over that span. 

   There’s nothing to suggest that trend should be changing anytime either. Between the teams of the Central Coast Section’s West Catholic Athletic League, the North Coast Section’s East Bay Athletic League and the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Sierra Foothill League, we’d be shocked if a few state banners weren’t heading north again this December. Those leagues don’t include other perennial state contenders like Campolindo-Moraga, Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland or Branson-Ross. 

   This fall won’t be just about football and volleyball, though. It’s also worth noting that five Northern California cross country teams will be attempting to defend state titles — Yreka (Division IV boys), St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda (Div. V boys), Campolindo (Div. III girls), San Lorenzo Valley-Felton (Div. IV girls) and Branson (Div. V girls). 

   The CIF doesn’t have state playoffs in water polo (though we wish they would at least organize regional championships), but we’re pretty sure that San Ramon Valley-Danville  and Davis would be a favorites if they did. If you’re a fan of the sport, we highly recommend going to see the Wolves and their star player Kat Klass before the season is up. Klass will be attempting to help San Ramon Valley to a fourth straight NCS Div. I title. Davis senior Colby Stapleton would be another player worth seeing as the Blue Devils seek a SIXTH consecutive SJS Div. I crown. 

   Other fall story lines we’ll be watching include : 

   >> Palo Alto senior Michelle Xie’s quest for a state girls golf title. Xie was a postseason machine last fall, taking medalist honors at the Central Coast Section and CIF NorCal Championships before a Top-10 finish at the state tournament.

   >> Jesuit-Carmichael and Granite Bay’s race for Div. I supremacy in SJS boys soccer. Last year the teams met in the Div. I final and Granite Bay prevailed 2-1 in overtime, avenging a 5-0 loss to the Crusaders in the previous year’s championship match. 

   >> Dougherty Valley-San Ramon swept the NCS team titles in both girls golf and girls tennis in 2013. They were only the third school to accomplish the double, joining Branson which won both Div. II titles in 2012 and Monte Vista-Danville which swept the sports in 2004 when there was just a single classification. Can Dougherty Valley do it again? Seeing as how there were very few seniors on either team, there’s a good chance.

   Now you know how we plan to spend our fall. Also, there’s football.  

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