The latest edition of the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Association Top 10 in each classification came out Monday, and congratulations are due to the Clarion-Limestone Lady Lions who have entered the rankings in Class 1A for the first time in recent memory at No. 9 thanks to their stirring win over previously ranked Clarion last week.
C-L is one of two District 9 teams ranked in the Top 10 in Class 1A joining Elk County Catholic, who is in at No. 4.
A pair of District 10 teams are ranked in Class 2A with North East at No. 8 and Corry at No. 9.
But, wow, is it hard to take any of these rankings seriously when the defending PIAA champion, Maplewood, with just two losses on the season and zero against Class 1A competition, is nowhere to be found. The PVCA had Maplewood ranked No. 1 in Class 1A in the preseason then immediately dropped them completely from the rankings after an early-season loss to Meadville, one of the top Class 3A teams in a loaded Class 3A field in District 10. Yes, you read that correctly. A team ranked No. 1 was dropped completely from the rankings after one loss to a Class 3A school that is really good.
It really makes you wonder if the PVCA really puts any amount of time into these rankings.
Yes, the Tigers lost three key players from a year ago but like any great program – and make no mistake Maplewood is perhaps the greatest in Class 1A in the state – they have replaced them with very capable players.
I had the opportunity to watch Maplewood last week in a match we broadcast right here on the YDL Sports Network, and the Tigers are every bit of a complete team that we saw win the state title with relative ease a year ago.
From Elizabeth Hunter in the middle to Madison and Savannah O’Hara on the outside to Maggie Means setting and Lexy Potosky at Libero, the Tigers have everything that a team needs to compete for another PIAA title.
Add to that they are the defending state champions, and it literally makes no sense they can’t crack the Top 10.
Look, I have zero issues with Elk County Catholic and C-L being in the Top 10, District 9 has proven year in and year out it is one of the top two Class 1A playing volleyball districts in the state. Those teams are the two best teams in D9 1A right now and richly deserve to be ranked.
But, do you know who the other one is? District 10. The best volleyball in Class 1A in Pennsylvania is played in the two districts we cover, and the fact that the defending state champion isn’t ranked really puts a big question mark on the PVCA and how it does its rankings.
Last week, we sent a note to Class 1A volleyball rankings chairperson Jen Daubert through the PVCA’s online messaging program expressing concerns about Maplewood not being in the Top 10 and heard nothing back (since it is an online messaging tool there is no way we can be certain that the message was even received). Then this week’s rankings came out and we see the same thing.
This is a disservice to the players and coaches of that program who have worked hard to get where they are and to stay there.
I know head coach Shelia Bancroft doesn’t care about not being ranked and, in fact, probably loves going under the radar. I know the players probably follow their coach’s lead. . I know the parents and fans probably don’t care either. They all know at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is who is standing a week before Thanksgiving. After all, in Week 6 a year ago they weren’t ranked either on their way to the state title.
But just because they don’t need to be ranked to show they are one of the best doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be ranked.