"That's a little different for us," Burroughs Coach Joel Brinton said. "We're used to being the underdog, not one of the favorites. I don't know if we are that good now to be No. 2 in the division right now, but I think we have the potential to be that high up."
Joining the Indians, Providence and Bellarmine-Jefferson this season will be Burbank, which has started its program back up.
Here is a closer look at how the area teams are shaping up.
Behind a group of talented players, Burroughs (23-8) shared the Pacific League title last season with Claremont. The Indians went on to defeat Hart, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19, to win its first-round postseason match. In addition, the team also had an 11-match win streak during the season and won 19 of its final 21 matches.
The Indians return the core of that team this season.
"Our goal this season is to win the league championship for ourselves," Brinton said. "We have a good group of guys and we have some players who definitely have the experience."
Leading the way is senior setter Tyler Yanez. Yanez set school records for assists with 722 and blocks with 63 in 2010. He also had 68 kills and led the team with 28 aces. For his efforts, he was named to the a All-CIF third team, shared Pacific League Player of the Year honors and was the All-Area Player of the Year.
Joining his Tyler is his brother, Lucas, a senior outside hitter who earned all-league and All-Area accolades last season, setting school records in kills with 234 and digs with 220.
"Tyler and Lucas have been with the program for three years, and they know what we expect of them," Brinton said. "They will be our leaders."
Also returning are junior middles Robbie Rutecki and Ike Nwachie, senior libero Kevin Trejo, senior outside hitters Justin Llamas and Matt McGrady and sophomore opposite Daniel Jacobs.
Brinton said he expect Claremont to have a competitive team in the Pacific League.
The Pioneers are coming off a season in which they placed second in the Liberty League.