With 29 victories and not a blemish so far, Crescenta Valley High’s girls’ water polo team is setting forth in search of four more victories and a CIF Southern Section Division V championship.
That journey begins Wednesday when the Falcons host Fontana in the opening round of the playoffs.
“We’ll just take it one game at a time,” said Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio, whose team won the Pacific League championship. “We don’t want to look past Fontana.”
Joining Crescenta Valley, the tournament’s No. 3 seed, on the same side of the bracket is Pacific League fourth-place finisher Glendale, which has the imposing task of taking on second-seeded Temescal Canyon. But the arduous draw came as no surprise to Nitros Coach Forest Holbrook.
“Obviously, we’re No. 4 in our league, we’re gonna have a tough seed,” Holbrook said.
The Falcons, who advanced to the semifinals last season, will take on a Fontana team that has gone 15-11 and is the No. 3 team out of the Citrus Belt League, which was won by fourth-seeded Redlands East Valley.
“I think they’re really excited,” said Loporchio, whose team has Breanna Lawton as the only returning starter from a season ago, although Sabrina Hatzer, Shannon Hovanesian and Stefanie Loporchio were crucial components to last year’s team. “I think it’s a special group that hinges on playing together and playing good defense.”
Should the Falcons, who will host the match at Burbank High, advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals, they’ll face either Riverside Notre Dame or Los Altos, with Loporchio predicting the latter. Crescenta Valley has twice beaten Los Altos this season by scores of 11-7 and 8-7.
Glendale (10-10) will travel to face the Sunbelt League champion Temescal Canyon, which boasts a 22-5 record. The winner will face either Yucaipa or Walnut.
Though Holbrook knows advancing would be a lofty upset, he’s confident his Nitros have a shot.
“I’m encouraged that if our girls at Glendale High play like they’re capable, we can have a successful game against them,” Holbrook said. “The beauty of the playoffs is you don’t have to be the better team, you just have to be the better team that day.”
All playoff matches are scheduled for 5 p.m. unless a change is agreed upon by both teams.