Girls' Water Polo: CdM No. 3 seed, Newport No. 4 for CIF playoffs

If Corona del Mar High and Newport Harbor want to meet for the fifth time this season and set up a rematch of last year's CIF Southern Section Division 1 title match, the Back Bay rivals will need to win three straight games in the girls' water polo playoffs.

That's because CdM was given the No. 3 seed and defending champion Newport Harbor the No. 4 when the playoff brackets were released Sunday morning.

The Sea Kings (23-4) and the Sailors (20-6) both won two games out of the four meetings this season. The rivals have met nine times in the past two seasons, CdM winning five and Newport Harbor winning four, including the big one for the CIF championship, the Sailors' fifth in their history.

CdM has won five CIF titles, but remains without a Division 1 championship.

Estancia (15-12), which needed to win twice on Thursday to earn third place in the Orange Coast League, opens the playoffs on Tuesday in a wild-card game at home against Huntington Beach (14-13). The winner plays at top-seeded Santa Barbara (23-4) on Wednesday.

Costa Mesa (18-10), the OCL's second-place team, plays at Los Alamitos (21-6) in the first round on Wednesday.

CdM, the Pacific Coast League champion, plays at home in the first round and will face the wild-card winner of the game Ventura (13-12) at Esperanza (13-15).

Newport Harbor, the Sunset League champion, starts its quest to repeat on Wednesday at home. The Sailors face the wild-card winner of the game Woodbridge (14-9) at Canyon (15-12).

Quarterfinal games are on Saturday. The semifinals, at Woollett Aquatics Center, are Feb. 20 and the championship game, also at Woollett, is Feb. 23.

— Steve Virgen

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