For the second time in as many years, the Corona del Mar High girls' water polo team is heading north for the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
The Sea Kings again lost the pre-coin flip to Santa Barbara San Marcos. They will play No. 3-seeded San Marcos on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a quarterfinal game at Santa Barbara High.
The scenario is set up the same as last year, when CdM again had to travel north to lose on the road to San Marcos, 8-5, in the quarterfinals. CdM, coming off a 9-4 win over Back Bay rival Newport Harbor in the first round Wednesday night, hopes the result is different this year.
San Marcos (23-5), led by USC-bound senior Paige Hauschild, has been a team the Sea Kings (20-8) have yet to beat under second-year Coach Kevin Ricks. The Royals beat the Sea Kings four times last year, and also in a nonleague game this season. That score, in a game played Jan. 27 also at Santa Barbara High, also was 8-5.
CdM senior Jaleh Moaddeli is no longer on the team for unspecified reasons. But junior Chloe Harbilas, who scored a game-high five goals in the first-round win over Newport Harbor, said the Sea Kings can go into Saturday's game against San Marcos with confidence.
"I definitely think losing to them that many times has put more fuel to the fire, of how much we want to beat them," Harbilas said. "We're going in as underdogs, and I think that's almost better, because we have a chip on our shoulder. Everyone thinks, 'Hey, San Marcos is going to win,' but if we come out and play our hardest, we can get a win."
Saturday will be the Sea Kings' third trip to the Santa Barbara area this season. They also traveled north for the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions last month.
But they don't mind the trip, junior goalie Erin Tharp said. She has her favorite Mexican eatery of choice when she heads up there.
"I like it, they have Freebirds," Tharp said. "It's perfect."
Breakers to face Los Al
Top-seeded Laguna Beach is finally fully healthy for the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs.
Junior defender Isabel Riches returned from a concussion in Wednesday's 19-4 win over El Toro in the first round. Aria Fischer paced the Breakers with five goals.
Next up for Laguna Beach (28-0) is a quarterfinal game on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. against Los Alamitos (21-8) at Los Alamitos Training Base.
The Breakers have beaten the Griffins twice this season by wide margins. Laguna won, 16-2, in a nonleague game Dec. 21, and also won, 11-1, in an Irvine Southern California Championships quarterfinal game on Feb. 2.
Walsh sets Laguna record
Laguna Beach junior goalie Thea Walsh has set the school's single-season saves record.
Walsh had 10 saves in the first-round win against El Toro, giving her 269 for the season. That's the most in the Breakers' single-season record book, though statistics were not available for most years pre-2006.
The previous known single-season mark was 263, set by Lina Moore in 2001.
If Walsh and the Breakers have their way, she will have three more games to add to her total.