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Girls’ water polo trio heads to CIF postseason

Girls’ water polo trio heads to CIF postseason
Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo coach Ricky Mulcahey, above, and his Falcons begin the Division III playoffs Thursday and will host Big VIII League runner-up Corona Santiago. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Crescenta Valley High, Glendale and Flintridge Prep represent the local girls' water polo programs that earned berths to the CIF Southern Section playoffs as the pairings were announced Saturday morning.

The Pacific League champion Falcons and Prep League third-place Rebels are at home to open the postseason.

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Tenth-ranked Crescenta Valley (24-4) begins the Division III playoffs Thursday at 5 p.m. and will host Big VIII League runner-up Corona Santiago (17-9), the seventh-ranked team, at a site to be determined.

The Falcons enter after defeating Burroughs, 8-6, on Thursday in the Pacific League tournament championship at Arcadia that clinched an outright league crown.

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While Crescenta Valley is 2-2 this season versus Division III ranked teams, the Falcons have quite a feather in their cap with two victories over top-ranked Harvard-Westlake.

Though the Falcons have a history of deep postseason runs, they were bounced in the first round of the Division II playoffs, 13-5, last season by Riverside Martin Luther King.

A Crescenta Valley triumph would vault the team into Saturday's quarterfinal, where the Falcons could face No. 2-seed Long Beach Wilson (21-11) or a wild-card squad.

As for Flintridge Prep, the Rebels are 9-10 and clinched the program's first postseason berth since 2003 under coach Andrew Phillips after taking third place in the Prep League.

"It's a dream come true for the girls," Phillips said. "It's the first time in 15 years, so it's big for the team."

The Rebels kick off the postseason Wednesday in the Division VII wild-card round.

Flintridge Prep will host freelance squad La Mirada (19-9) at 3 p.m. at Pasadena Poly.

Though the Rebels haven't faced the Matadores this season, that won't change the focus for Phillips.

"We'll keep the same philosophy that we've kept all season, which is to play good water polo fundamentals," Phillips said. "We're prepared for most situations. We've seen high-quality offenses in Poly and Mayfield. Even though we can't prepare for a team we don't know, we can work on what we do."

A victory would require a quick turnaround for Flintridge Prep, which would travel to Ojai Villanova Prep (13-11), the Frontier League champion, in Thursday's first round at 5 p.m.

Pacific League third-place Glendale is road bound with the playoffs getting underway Tuesday. Glendale (12-12) traveled to Covina Charter Oak in the Division VI first round to take on Valle Vista League champion San Dimas (24-5) at 3:15 p.m.

"It's a great opportunity to extend our season and get some experience," Glendale coach Casey Sripramong saidof the postseason berth.

The Nitros were defeated by Lakeside, 15-11, in last season's Division VI first round and have dropped six straight playoff matches dating back to a Nitros' 10-6 victory over La Sierra in the 2011 Division VI postseason first round.

Should Glendale snap its losing streak, it would face one of two squads – La Sierra (19-9) or No. 4-seeded Temecula Valley (16-12) – in Thursday's second round.

"We're just going to play hard defense and continue working on offense," Sripramong said.

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