When the Barron Collier Cougars look across their home court Tuesday night, they'll see a Gulf Coast Sharks squad that's won the last 10 matches in the teams' series. GREGG HARDY/CSI
Every Monday during the high school fall sports season, CSI releases its updated volleyball power rankings — revealing Collier County’s top five teams.
Generally, these rankings are based on how a team fares relative to the level of competition on its schedule. Also, head-to-head matchups (in the regular season, not preseason) carry significant weight when deciding between two teams.
Here are the top five volleyball programs in Collier County through last week’s games (regular-season records and last week’s ranking in parentheses):
It’s a sprint to the finish line for the Seahawks, who have occupied the top spot on this list for five weeks. After turning back a stout First Baptist Academy squad for the second time this season, CSN completed a regular-season sweep of Bishop Verot to punctuate its rise to the top of Class 5A-District 10. Look for the Seahawks to close out the regular season in style this week as it readies for the district tournament.
The Cougars will already have their hands full Tuesday night when they look to end their 10-match losing streak to Gulf Coast in “The Rivalry”. (That’s what we’re calling the series until someone comes up with a moniker for Collier County’s most electric sporting event.) If the Sharks are reading this, taking a back seat to Barron on ANY list is not going to sit well. Still, the Cougars are red-hot, having won eight straight while Gulf Coast is …
… Well, the Sharks have cooled down from their 12-0 start. (Although in fairness, they’ve stepped up their level of competition with the postseason fast approaching.) Last week, Gulf Coast traveled to Fort Myers for a couple of matches — including a four-set loss to powerful Fort Myers High — before traveling to the east coast for the Smoothie King Invitational. The Sharks lost to two strong programs, Westminster Christian and Cypress Bay, at the Invite.
Stuck at No. 4 on this list for a third straight week, the Lions rebounded from Monday’s loss at CSN with a straight-set win the next night at LaBelle. FBA wraps up the regular season with a couple of tough tests against teams from larger classifications: Class 8A Riverdale (13-5) on Monday and Class 7A North Fort Myers (18-4) on Tuesday. Tough? Yes. But definitely winnable — remember the Lions’ narrow five-set loss at Barron Collier just a few weeks ago?
Newly installed at No. 5 last week, the Trojans won both their matches against sub-.500 foes Immokalee and Estero. The win at Estero was notable, as Lely rallied from a first-set loss to race past the Wildcats in four. The Trojans begin the final week of the regular season with a home date Tuesday vs. arch-rival Naples — a rematch of the five-set thriller Naples won in its home gym Sept. 6. (Note: Lely did not have senior co-captain Morgan Broxson in that contest.)
Follow CSI on Twitter at @239CSI or like CSI on Facebook at facebook.com/CollierSportsInsider. Email Gregg Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org.