As expected, Crescenta Valley girls' water polo is No. 1 seed

Having left a string of lopsided Pacific League wins and impressive nonleague triumphs over highly-ranked foes in its wake, Crescenta Valley High’s girls’ water polo team was expected to be the No. 1 seed when Sunday’s CIF playoff pairings were announced and the Falcons were just that.

The Falcons will host a wild-card entry in Wednesday’s first round, while Glendale, the third-place finisher out of the Pacific League, will travel to face fourth-seeded Redlands East Valley.

Buoyed by a balanced squad that’s offense has been equally impressive as its defense, the Falcons are led by the likes of Shannon Hovanesian, Elissa Arnold, Katie Benson and Breana Lawton.

“For the most part, we all expected it to come out as it did,” said Falcons first-year Coach Brent Danna of the pairings.

Crescenta Valley (29-2), which won its fourth consecutive league crown with a dominant undefeated run, has advanced to the division semifinals two straight years, but is looking for a CIF championship this time around. It will begin its quest on Wednesday in the first round against either Downey, the San Gabriel Valley League’s third-place team, or Citrus Belt at-large entrant Fontana, who play in Tuesday’s wild-card round. If the Falcons advance, they’ll meet Arlington or Santa Ynez in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

The Falcons’ last loss came on Jan. 17 against Corona Santiago, the No. 1 seed in Division II, and its other defeat also came to a Division II squad, Martin Luther King, which finished second to Santiago in the Big VIII League.

“We’re gonna do everything in our capabilities to go out there fully prepared,” Danna said. “And hopefully luck will be on our side … and hopefully we’ll be able to home a CIF championship to CV.”

The Nitros (11-11) recovered from a bitter 5-2 loss to Burroughs in the league tournament semifinals to dispatch Pasadena, 7-4, to secure third place. And on Sunday, Glendale was the only third-place team rewarded with a first-round draw rather than a wild-card matchup.

“It really says something about our team that we were ranked above the other third-place teams in the division,” said Holbrook, whose squad lost to second-seeded Temescal Canyon, last year’s division champion, in the first round of last season’s playoffs.

Of course the reward is playing the No. 4 seed, a Redlands East Valley squad that boasts a 21-8 record and won the Citrus Belt League. REV also had a recent 7-4 nonleague loss to Crescenta Valley, which defeated Glendale, 16-2, in league play.

“No matter what in CIF, you’re gonna have to play good teams and our girls are excited about the challenge of playing REV,” said Holbrook, whose team is led by Maddie Corpuz and Biyouregh Boghozian.

If Glendale can pull off the upset, it will face either Cerritos or Elsinore in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

All game times are scheduled for 5 p.m. unless a change is agreed upon, but Holbrook said he’s hopeful of getting the game time moved up to the 3-o’clock hour.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World