GLENDALE — With the dust from the Pacific League Tournament now settled and CIF Southern Section Division IV playoff pairings announced on Sunday, the two area girls’ water polo teams still in the hunt can now begin to plot their postseason journey.
With a first-round bye, Pacific League champion Crescenta Valley High will watch and wait for its second-round opponent to emerge.
Glendale opens on the road — as it did last year to begin its surprising run to the semifinals — in the first round at Carpinteria at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Hopefully we’ll have a nice little trip and play some good water polo,” said Glendale Coach Bob Zirovich, whose team defeated Arcadia, 14-5, in the Pacific League Tournament on Thursday to clinch third place in league.
Carpinteria will host the match by virtue of its second-place finish in the Tri-Valley League, but the Nitros bring some offsetting factors into the contest.
Carpenteria is unranked in Division IV, while Glendale (17-9) finished the regular season ranked eighth.
Furthermore, two other Pacific League teams — fifth-ranked Crescenta Valley and seventh-ranked Burbank — also finished the season in the top 10, while league-champion Malibu (third) is the only Tri-Valley team ranked.
“I really had no idea, as the third seed from our league, where we would end up,” Zirovich said. “We’re lucky that we come from such a competitive league so that we’ll be well prepared for Carpinteria.”
Also going in the Nitros’ favor is the reputation they established during last year’s playoffs as a team that can win big games on the road.
That team, which returns several prominent players this year, reached the semifinal round with three straight road upsets.
“I think we’re gonna do pretty good [in the playoffs],” said Glendale’s Shaggy Abolian, who scored 10 goals Thursday against Arcadia after being shut out in her previous outing. “I’m hoping to go as far as we did last year.
“We are going to try our best.”
Crescenta Valley (21-7) is looking to improve on a second-round exit from last year’s playoffs, in which it was upended in a home game by Santa Ynez.
Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio likened the bye to a double-edged sword, noting that a first-round draw can be useful in eliminating playoff jitters.
“Last year we looked back and kind of wished we had a first-round game to warm up, but you do what you can,” he said. “It’s nice to have that seed, but we’re just ready to play.”
At 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, the Falcons will host the winner of Tuesday’s first–round match between two third-place teams — Pasadena Poly out of the Prep League and the Mission League’s Alemany, which is ranked ninth in Division IV.
“I don’t know too much about Pasadena Poly, but I do know that Alemany’s pretty good,” Loporchio said. “We have to come ready to play and I think that’s the nature of the playoffs.”
— Dylan Kruse contributed to this story.