East Bay Boys Volleyball Notebook

Without much fanfare, a new team moved into the Bay Area News Group’s East Bay Volleyball rankings last week.

This school, of only 344 kids, hasn’t received much hype and hasn’t seen too much support in the polls, but last week Head-Royce High School finally snuck into the rankings, debuting at No. 15.
“We don’t mind flying under the radar,” Head-Royce coach Scott Tay said. “Although we may feed off of it sometimes, we don’t like to play like we have a chip on our shoulders. I try to teach my players to stay even, and to keep their emotions in check in every situation. We try to play the game the right way and by staying disciplined and learning from our mistakes we try to improve after every match.”
With wins over College Park, Sheldon-Elk Grove and Galileo-San Francisco, the Jayhawks have shown they can compete with the big schools.
“Every team has gotten better since the beginning of the season,” Tay said. “We hope that the things that we’ve practiced and the opponents that we’ve faced have prepared us for a run that will take us deep into the playoffs. At this point, every win means that you are one step closer to the NCS title. Every team is trying to get to the finals, but we’re going to make it as hard as possible for anyone else to win if we get there too.”
With a 19-7 overall record, including an 18-1 record against fellow Division III teams, the Jayhawks find themselves leading the Bay Counties League with an 11-0 mark. They will put that unbeaten mark and the outright league title on the line when they face College Prep on Tuesday.
College Prep is 10-1 in league, but Head-Royce beat the Cougars in three games on March 13. The Jayhawks only loss in D III play came to a very good Moreau Catholic team.
As the season has gone on, teams have found out that this team is no longer a secret.
“I think the biggest thing that people are finding out about us is how disciplined and talented our team is,” Tay said. “We try to minimize mistakes and make adjustments as much as possible, but every day I am amazed at what these kids continue to do in practice. The juniors and seniors continue to improve and impress by staying healthy and unified. The underclassmen have also made tremendous strides as they battle their teammates for playing time on an internally competitive team.”
Head-Royce is led by three seniors and three juniors. The senior’s are all team captains, led by outside hitter Keenan Walch. Sam Palley is another outside hitter and Matt Isono is the right side hitter.
The juniors handle the setting and the blocking, with Eric Tam handing out the assists and Mike Eidlin and Tyler Mitchell handling things around the net.
With this talented group, the Jayhawks have a reason to be optimistic.
“It seems like we have a good mix of talent, leadership, and effective coaching,” Tay said. “This formula has worked so far this season and will hopefully earn victories against tougher teams in the playoffs. One of our goals since the beginning of the season is to improve each day. It might be a modest or optimistic goal, but it is one that we have achieved thus far into the season. Another goal is to win the league title. We had this in our minds since the beginning and know that it will take nothing short of a perfect record to achieve.”

Playoff scenario

There have been murmurs that the East Bay Athletic League might only be given four bids, one to the champion and three at-large bids.
If that is the case, then two very deserving teams are going to get left out. One of those, Amador Valley, is a team that might be good enough to win the North Coast Section title, but in sixth place in league, they might be in danger of being left out.
“Hopefully we’ll get in, but we’ll see what happens,” Amador Valley coach Aaron Harper said. “To not allow us when we’ve proven we can beat the best teams seems kind of silly. It’s definitely going to be interesting, if you look at head to head matches we should be a team that is able to get in.”
This is a team with impressive tournament wins, despite being just 3-7 in the EBAL. They have beat Cal, De La Salle twice and have made the finals at the Deer Valley, Northgate and Foothill Tournaments.
College Park is a team on the playoff bubble, but the Dons beat the Falcons. I have to say that I think the EBAL deserves six teams.

With that said, let’s take a look at the possible playoff teams:

Foothill: The Falcons have to be the odds on favorite to earn the D I top seed. They have won 22 matches in a row and are currently tied for the EBAL lead.

Cal: The Grizzlies are still the most imposing team physically, and our going to get a No. 2 or No. 3 seed more than likely. They are going to be a tough out for anyone.

Mission San Jose: This team is extremely athletic and very well coached. The Warriors have won the Mission Valley Athletic League and are more than likely going to get a top four seed.

Deer Valley: Certainly in the discussion for a top four seed, the champions of the Bay Valley Athletic League are taking care of business and kind of flying under the radar.

San Ramon Valley: Tommy Crow is a very exciting and dangerous player and they have a tough middle in Will Rei. The Wolves should be no worse than a No. 5 seed.

De La Salle: The Spartans are a tough team, have good tournament wins and are .500 in the toughest league. They are in.

Monte Vista: Plays everyone tough and is in the top five in the EBAL. Expect them to get in.

Amador Valley: As we talked about before, this team is the most interesting case. The Dons have great tournament wins, and though they are just 3-7 in the EBAL, they are clearly one of the best teams in the area.

College Park: The defending champs might be the team that is left out. They are very talented, but have not beat any of the top eight teams in Division I this season.

Division II

Campolindo, De Anza, Las Lomas, Northgate, Alameda and Drake-San Anselmo all seem like shoe-ins to me. I think there are three teams battling for the final two spots and they are Alhambra, Heritage and Clayton Valley. My instincts say it will be Heritage and Clayton Valley getting in.

Division III

I think there are seven teams that are pretty much locked in: Head-Royce, College Prep, El Molino-Forestville, Marin Catholic, Moreau Catholic, St. Patrick-St. Vincent and Tamalpais. There are many teams in the running for the final spot which include Bentley, Berean Christian, Chinese Christian, Redwood Christian and Valley Christian.


Amador Valley climbs up one spot to No. 6 after reaching another tournament final, this time Foothill. The biggest jump belongs to Head-Royce, which climbs to No. 13. The word on the Jayhawks is getting out.

1. Foothill
2. Northgate
3. California
4. San Ramon Valley
5. Mission San Jose
6. Amador Valley
7. Deer Valley
8. De La Salle
9. Monte Vista
10. Las Lomas
11. Campolindo
12. College Park
13. Head-Royce
14. Clayton Valley
15. De Anza

Others receiving votes: Logan, Heritage, Washington, College Prep, Granada, Alameda, American.

League standings

If they need to be updated, let me know. There are certainly league games that I am missing.

Team League GB
De Anza 5-0 –
Alameda 3-1 1.5
Berkeley 2-3 3
El Cerrito 1-4 4
Hercules 0-5 5

Team League GB
Head-Royce 11-0 –
College Prep 10-1 1
Redwood Chr. 7-6 5
Chinese Chr. 5-6 6
Bentley 2-4 6.5
Urban 0-4 7.5
Contra Costa Chr. 1-6 8
Cornerstone Chr. 0-5 8
Drew 0-6 8.5

Team League GB
St. Patrick-St. Vincent 7-0 –
Salesian 2-2 3.5
Encinal 0-2 6
St. Joseph Notre Dame 0-2 6
St. Mary’s 0-3 6.5

Team League GB
Deer Valley 11-0 –
Heritage 9-2 2
Antioch 5-5 5.5
Freedom 4-5 6
Liberty 0-8 9.5
Pittsburg 0-9 10

Team League GB
Las Lomas 7-0 –
Campolindo 5-1 1.5
Alhambra 4-3 3
Miramonte 1-2 4
Dougherty Valley 1-5 5.5
Acalanes 0-7 7

Team League GB
Northgate 9-0 –
College Park 8-1 1
Clayton Valley 5-4 4
Berean Christian 3-5 5.5
Concord 3-5 5.5
Ygnacio Valley 1-7 7.5
Mt. Diablo 1-8 8

Team League GB
Foothill 9-1 –
California 9-1 –
San Ramon Valley 7-2 1.5
De La Salle 5-5 4
Monte Vista 4-6 5
Amador Valley 3-7 5.5
Granada 2-8 7
Livermore 0-9 8.5

Team League GB
Mission San Jose 10-0 –
Logan 7-3 3
Washington 6-4 4
American 6-4 4
Moreau Catholic 5-6 5.5
Kennedy 2-8 8
Castro Valley 0-11 10.5

For questions, comments, to report scores, update standings or add players to the watch list, please email Matt Smith at mhsmith78@gmail.com.

Matt Smith

  • Moreau_Setter

    I think American is being left out of the picture for the Div. II playoffs but they are a very strong team in a predominantly Div. I MVAL league. I think they have played more than well and probably could make some damage to a possible number 2 or 3 seed in DIv. II NCS. They have enough power to put some balls away and are really scrappy with consistant serving and a decent setter. They do not win games they make the other team lose them.
    And thanks for the shout out about Moreau being the only team to beat this unstopable Head Royce team.

  • Christian_Bale_Fan

    Big ups to Head Royce! This article is a great summary of what’s going on with the team right now, and its pretty amazing to know that this is Coach Tay’s first season as head coach! I’m not on the team right now, but I’d love to be in the stands, celebrating with the team, yelling ‘Me too! Me too!’ Let’s bring another banner to the rafters!

  • GoMVAL

    American is in Div I, not Div II.

  • Moreau_Setter

    You’re right, wow I didn’t know that, hmmm…but just barely by about 50 students, has to be tough when you in a division where school twice your size are(Logan), they need to consider down sizing.

  • Prep Fan

    Sounds like a great match tonight, as Foothill withstood a huge challenge from SRV, winning in 5 games. It was as close as it can get, with the 5th game 15-13 for the Falcons.


    head royce, los lomas, de anza, logan,american, clayton valley, should not be in the top 15. who did they play? nobody really, heritage has played the following teams: college park, monte vista, amador valley, marin catholic, deer valley, montain view, st pat/st vincent and northgate. our record is 17 wins 10 loses. washington is 7-10, logan is 7-7, clayton valley is 15-17, ouch, los lomas is 10-4 , de anza is 27-5 and played nobody tough. head royce played who?
    heritage deserves to be in the top 15 without any questions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Matt Smith

    Pretty simple with Head-Royce. They beat College Park, who beat Heritage. No question they deserve to be ranked. All the other teams you’ve mentioned (including Heritage) have arguments for and against. That’s why the coaches poll works the way it does.