Robert Echeverria said he has been the coach of the Pasadena Westridge School girls’ water polo team for four years, and the Tigers have played Ocean View in the playoffs three times in that span.
Echeverria remembers how Westridge lost to Ocean View in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 6 playoffs in 2015. The following year, the Tigers beat the Seahawks in the Division 6 semifinals.
Less was on the line Tuesday at Ocean View , as it was just a wild-card match of the Division 4 playoffs. Still, the arrival of the postseason means that it’s win or go home.
“We were laughing after the game,” Ocean View coach Melissa Fernandez said. “It was like, ‘All right, we’ll see you this time next year.’ ”
Fernandez had reason to feel good. Junior left-hander Leyna Tran scored seven goals as the Seahawks beat the Tigers 12-5 to advance.
Ocean View got three goals from senior Jasmine Silva and two from senior Carsyn Van Doren. The Seahawks (17-13) move on to play at top-seeded Long Beach Poly in the first round on Thursday at 5 p.m.
“There’s definitely some things we need to clean up if we’re going to go against the top teams in our division,” Fernandez said. “But as far as coming out and getting a playoff win under our belt, that’s really good for these girls. A lot of these girls don’t have the playoff experience. Leyna does, but a couple of others are very new. I’m starting a freshman [Angelina Franzetti] and a sophomore [Kimberly Silva] who played JV last year.
“It’s great experience for them. As much as they came out a little nervous, I was excited that they came out aggressive. They didn’t look like they were playing tentative, which I was afraid of.”
The young Seahawks, who finished second to Segerstrom in the Golden West League to end a three-year run as league champions, led 3-1 after the first quarter and 6-2 at halftime.
Tran typically leads the offense, but Fernandez said it also was good to see aggressive play from Jasmine Silva and Van Doren, who had four and three steals, respectively. Senior Tori Warren also had four steals for the winners, while senior goalkeeper Kiara Abascal made 12 saves.
‘[Van Doren] has always focused on defense, and you love a player that will be that,” Fernandez said. “This year, it’s really been our goal to get her involved offensively, and a little bit more confident with her shooting as well. Both her and Jasmine have done a good job with that.”
Ocean View converted both of its six-on-five opportunities while holding Westridge scoreless on all six of its power-play chances.
Senior center Grace Collins scored all five goals for Westridge (10-19), the fourth-place team from the Prep League. Echeverria said Collins is heading to Indiana University, and she is still deciding if she’ll play water polo there.
Ocean View knows it has a tough task in trying to hang with Moore League champion Long Beach Poly on Thursday. But the Seahawks have seen that level of competition throughout the year, Fernandez said, playing in the Diamond Bar tournament and hosting the Ocean View tournament.
The Seahawks also had two games against Segerstrom, which beat Ocean View 17-8 on Feb. 8 at Orange High to win the Golden West League tournament. The Jaguars are the No. 2 seed in Division 4, behind only Long Beach Poly.
“If we play like we did today, I think it’ll be a solid game,” Tran said. “It’ll definitely be tough, but we can do it. We’ll definitely rise up to that challenge.”