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Volleyball team to learn its fate Sunday

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Today the Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team will learn its postseason fate.

The New Mexico Activities Association is due to release seeding and selection for prep volleyball teams. Los Alamos, with a runner-up spot in the District 2-4A race and an earlier-than-expected exit from the 2-4A tournament, isn’t guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

With Thursday’s 3-0 loss at home in the semifinals of the 2-4A tournament to the Santa Fe Demons, it is tough to speculate where Los Alamos (13-8) might end up in the 4A draw.

Some around the state have even wondered if the Hilltoppers might now on the bubble for a postseason draw, but with a respectable 8-6 record against 4A teams and wins over Albuquerque Academy and Farmington this season, it seems unlikely the Hilltoppers will be completely left out in the cold.

But being on the wrong end of a sweep this late in the year isn’t likely to help Los Alamos’ seeding, either.

According to the final MaxPrep.com rankings of the regular season, which were released Wednesday, Los Alamos is the No. 10 team in 4A, one spot behind Santa Fe. The rankings and the final district standings are used to determine whether a team is invited to the postseason and where it might be seeded once it gets there.

In theory, the regular season standings are supposed to weigh in heavier than the district tournament results and with Los Alamos finishing second over Santa Fe via a 1-set difference between the two in their regular season meetings, it should get an at-large nod ahead of the Hilltoppers.

The only big hurdle the Hilltoppers may face is if Santa Fe upset Española Valley in the district tournament championship match Saturday – results from that match were unavailable at press time.

If the Demons pulled off the upset against the Sundevils, they would also be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs along with the Sundevils because of their regular season championship.

The race for the No. 1 overall seed in 4A is between Piedra Vista and Artesia. Piedra Vista has been rated No. 1 much of the year, but was swept in late September by the Bulldogs in Artesia.

Española Valley, which has also been near the top of the 4A power rankings much of the season, could be in line for a top five seed at state.