SOUTHERN SECTION PLAYOFF PAIRINGS : El Dorado Fills Top Spot in 4-A Water Polo Field

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three weeks ago, there was little doubt as to the team to beat in the Southern Section 4-A water polo playoffs. Corona del Mar High School stood alone.

The Sea Kings were undefeated and the odds-on favorite to win their third consecutive 4-A title. The came the fall, three losses which cost Corona del Mar the Sea View League title and the No. 1 ranking in the 4-A.

Filling the void is El Dorado, champions of the Empire League. The Golden Hawks defeated Corona del Mar twice in the last three weeks, including the championship game of the California State tournament.

As a result, El Dorado (22-3) is the No. 1 seeded team going into the playoffs, which begin Friday. Villa Park (22-4) is the second-seeded team, Sea View League champion Newport Harbor (17-9) third and Long Beach Wilson (17-8) fourth-seeded.

And Corona del Mar? For the first time this decade, the Sea Kings are not one of the top four seeded teams.

Success is nothing new to the Golden Hawks, who won three consecutive 3-A titles from 1985-87.

The Golden Hawks, who are led by Matt Maclear and Kyle Utsumi, will play Long Beach Poly (10-10) at El Dorado in the first round on Friday.

In other first-round games:

Fullerton (13-12) at Villa Park; Los Alamitos (13-14) at Newport Harbor; El Modena (10-10) at Long Beach Wilson; Buena Park (13-11) at Corona del Mar (19-3); University (12-12) at Foothill (16-10); Canyon (15-9) at Sunny Hills (17-9); Esperanza (21-6) at Millikan (17-10)

In the 3-A playoffs, El Toro (20-5) is the No. 1 seeded team after defeating Capistrano Valley, 10-9, Thursday to win the South Coast League. The Cougars (22-1) are the No. 2 seeded team.

El Toro plays Redlands (13-10) in the first round Wednesday at El Toro and Capistrano Valley plays host to Downey (13-11).

In other first-round games:

Edison (12-7) at Santa Monica (7-2); Mater Dei (16-9) at Gahr (15-11); Mission Viejo (12-10) at Orange (15-8); Woodbridge (20-6) at Marina (20-6); Fountain Valley (14-13) at Palos Verde (18-4)l; Costa Mesa (10-15) at Crespi (14-7).

In the 2-A playoffs, Magnolia will try to improve on its best season. The Sentinels (20-6) won their first outright Orange League championship this season and will play host Don Lugo (12-7) Thursday in the first round.

In other first-round games:

Bolsa Grande (7-4) at No. 1 seeded South Pasadena (21-2); Brea-Olinda (17-7) at Alta Loma (20-5); Western (13-12) at Miraleste (19-5); La Quinta (13-6) at Webb (10-5).

Kennedy (17-5) will play the winner of Mira Costa (12-14) and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame (9-6), which play in a wild-card game today.

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