NEWPORT BEACH, CA., Nov. 8. CAPISTRANO Valley tried to fool its old coach by trading caps with Newport Harbor in a first-round CIF Division 1 water polo playoff game here today.
It didn't work.
The defending champ Newport Sailors scored four goals in the final quarter to pull away for a 10-6 win over the Capo Cougars and advance to the quarter-final round Saturday.
"Like that was going to work?" said Newport Harbor coach Jason Lynch of the switched caps. "I know those players too well." Lynch guided Capo Valley for seven seasons prior to switching to Newport this year.
Newport Harbor (15-14) was led by Michael Bury, who scored four goals, and Nathan Weiner, who rifled home three. Capo Valley's Pat Cary had three goals to lead his squad, which ended its season at 15-14.
(Newport Harbor is also home to men's World Champion 200 backstroker, American Aaron Peirsol, who won the silver medal at Sydney last year. Peirsol will finish the year as the world's No. 1-ranked swimmer in his
specialty and is a senior this season.)
Division 1's top-seeded Long Beach Wilson had no trouble with Mission Viejo, winning 13-7. The Bruins have won five of the last six DI Championships. The second-seeded Divison 1 team, Lake Forest El Toro, doubled the count on Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, winning 22-11.
And Coach Rich Corso's Harvard-Westlake squad, another DI power, won handily over Santa Ana, 15-3. Corso is a former USA national team head coach.
The top-seeded Division II team, Corona del Mar's Sea Kings, had a laugher against Cypress, winning 19-1.
Division II Servite's Friars, the only Southern Section team to defeat Corona del Mar this season, also won easily, 18-6 over Fullerton. Although
Servite is undefeated in league play it is still ranked No. 2 to Corona del Mar. A rematch could occur in the finals, set for Nov. 17 at Long Beach's Belmont Plaza if both schools win their next two matches.
Corona del Mar coach John Vargas, whose Sea Kings are double-defending CIF Champs, is in his final season there. He will take over the reigns of Stanford's men's program Jan. 1. Stanford is currently the No. 1 ranked team nationally and a strong favorite to win the NCAA Championship next month.
Divison 111 power El Segundo, which won a school-record 22 games this season, had no trouble with Arcadia, winning 13-2.
In Division IV, top-seeded Ventura blasted Calabasas, 17-6. The Eagles got the top seed despite a pair of loses to second-seeded Santa Barbara within the last 10 days. Santa Barbara won its playoff opener over Oxnard, 14-8.
Each of the six CIF Southern Section Divisions has an eight-team single-elimination playoff bracket, which means each division winner must win four games. Normally the playoffs are held over a two-week span but with Thanksgiving falling early this year section officials decided to compress the time-frame into a 10-day span with all finals taking place Nov. 17 at Belmont.
– Bill Bell