As expected, Glendale High’s boys’ water polo team was granted the No. 1 seed when the CIF Southern Section offices released playoff pairings on Sunday morning.
In a Division V bracket cluttered with area teams from the Pacific and Prep leagues, the Nitros roll in after having steamrolled through the Pacific en route to a second consecutive league crown and clearly have the mind set of a No. 1 team.
“Our team’s peaking at the right time of the year,” said Nitros Coach Forest Holbrook, whose squad will host JW North, an Inland Valley at-large entrant that Holbrook admitted he knows little about, though that didn’t seem to matter. “Our game plan doesn’t really change from team to team. We make little adjustments, but we worry about what we’re doing.
“When it comes down to it, our boys are playing the best they’ve played in my time here at Glendale. It’s really up to other teams to stop us.”
The Nitros (18-5) will host a North squad (12-9) that’s an at-large entrant out of the Inland Valley League on Wednesday, while Flintridge Prep (16-8), the No. 4 seed after taking second in the Prep League, will host Whittier (12-14-1), a second-place squad out of the Del Rio League, and finally, Crescenta Valley (13-14), having finished third in the Pacific, will travel to face Walnut (11-10), the Hacienda League co-champ.
The Nitros, should they win, would advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals against either Los Altos (15-14) or El Rancho (17-9).
In all, five teams - Glendale, Burbank, Crescenta Valley, Burroughs and Pasadena - made the playoffs from the Pacific League.
“What really stood out to me is how well the Pacific League is represented,” said Holbrook, who was uncertain about where and at what time his Wednesday match would be. “To be No. 1 in that league says something.”
Crescenta Valley was No. 3 in that league, but will travel to face Walnut on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. at Mount San Antonio College. CV already owns a win over Walnut, however, which shared a league title with Los Altos.
“That’s good [we are playing a team we already beat], but anything can happen in playoffs,” Falcons Coach Jan Sakonju said. “It’s good to play a team we’re familiar with.”
On the Falcons’ side of the bracket, they’ve played five of seven teams.
“That’s kind of the point of my scheduling, that’s why we try to play a lot of top 10 teams,” said Sakonju, whose team would advance to play either Prep League champion Pasadena Poly or Pasadena in Saturday’s quarterfinal round.
Flintridge Prep, under coach Dan Hare, is having one of its finest seasons in years and, after having never been ranked higher than fifth this season, got the fourth seed after Los Altos lost to Walnut in its finale.
“I’m very happy with it. We’re very pleased, this is a great step for our program,” said Hare, who hopes to host the match at 4 p.m. on the Prep campus. “We’re looking forward to playing in front of our fans.”
If Prep moves on, it would face either Riverside Poly (16-10), the Inland Valley League champ, or a wild-card winner in Saturday’s quarterfinal.