A convincing road sweep of Barron Collier last week helped Community School of Naples lay claim as the top volleyball team in Collier County. GREGG HARDY/CSI
Every Monday during the fall sports season, CSI releases its updated volleyball power rankings — revealing Collier County’s top five high school 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):
Stuck behind Gulf Coast through the first two weeks of the season, the Seahawks’ body of work dictates that they move into the top spot. Yes, CSN needed five sets to win at 1-4 LaBelle on Thursday, but a peak inside the boxscore shows that the Seahawks’ top player, Laura Zuloaga, sat out the match. Perhaps she was nursing an apparent ankle injury suffered Tuesday near the end of the Seahawks’ road domination of Barron Collier.
While Community School has played the toughest schedule of any Collier County team thus far, the Lions’ slate has been far from a cakewalk. After its strong showing at the Cardinal Mooney tournament two weekends ago, FBA swept Evangelical Christian in the Lions Den on Thursday. The Lions may have just completed their hostile takeover of Class 3A’s District 6.
Why do the Sharks — still undefeated — find themselves at No. 3 after spending the first couple weeks of the season in the top spot? The only … um, knock? … against Gulf Coast is that it’s played a lighter schedule than the two teams ahead of it on this list. It would be a mild surprise if, sooner or later, the Sharks didn’t find their way back to the top spot.
The Golden Eagles and arch-rival Barron Collier have been see-sawing at No. 4 and 5. Naples gets the edge here after a five-set home win against Lely — the Eagles blew several big leads but still rallied from a 2-1 hole. We’ll have a better grasp of where Naples and Barron stand Wednesday night when the Eagles visit the Cougars in their first meeting of the season.
It was tempting to slot Lely in at No. 5 after its strong showing Thursday at Naples. (Also, Palmetto Ridge is starting to merit consideration, too.) But the Cougars had two factors work in their favor: They swept the Trojans at Lely a couple weeks ago; and, they’re still dealing with a rash of injuries that would cripple a lot of teams.
Follow CSI on Twitter at @239CSI or like CSI on Facebook at facebook.com/CollierSportsInsider. Email Gregg Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org.