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Fryer: South Coast tourney offers best test for top teams

STAFF COLUMNIST

If you want to know what are the best water polo teams in Southern California and the favorites in the CIF-Southern Section playoffs, keep an eye on the South Coast Tournament.

The South Coast is the best early-season tournament in water polo, and among the best early-season tournaments in any CIF-SS sport. Every team in the CIF-SS Division 1 top 10 is in it. So are four of the top five teams in the top 10 for Division 2.

The 32-team tournament began Thursday and continues through Saturday. The championship match is at Newport Harbor on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Mater Dei, No. 1 in the Orange County top 10, has won the South Coast Tournament championship six years in a row. The Monarchs are No. 2 in CIF-SS Division 1 behind Harvard-Westlake of Studio City. Harvard-Westlake defeated Mater Dei last week in the S & R Sport Elite 8 tournament.

The tournament is divided into four pools. Literally and literally. One pool of eight teams plays at Newport Harbor, another eight-team pool is at Corona del Mar, and the two other eight-team pools are at Foothill and Santa Margarita.

Harvard-Westlake is the No. 1-seeded team at Newport Harbor. Mater Dei is top seeded at Corona del Mar. Huntington Beach, No. 2 in the O.C. top 10 and No. 4 in CIF-SS Division 1, is top seeded in the Foothill pool. Orange Lutheran, No. 3 in O.C. and Division 1, is top seeded in the Santa Margarita pool.

Considering the quality of teams in the South Coast Tournament, they are, of course, deep pools.

Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:

• It has been Harvard-Westlake or Mater Dei that has won the Division 1 boys water polo championship the past six years. Mater Dei won the Division 1 title in 2010, ’11, ’12 and ’15. Harvard-Westlake was champion in ’13 and ’14.

• Foothill won the Division 2 boys water polo championship the past two seasons. As part of the results-based formula now used to place teams in CIF-SS playoff divisions, Foothill was moved to Division 1 this season.

• The CIF-SS team record for most goals in a boys water polo game is 71, set by Rowland against West Covina in 1999. A search for how many goals West Covina scored was fruitless. Probably not many, considering the ball was at the other end of the pool frequently enough for 71 goals.

• Mater Dei set the CIF-SS boys water polo record for consecutive victories with 103 in a row, 2010-13. That’s a lot more than the second-longest winning streak of 45 set by Corona del Mar, 1968-70.

• Sunny Hills has the CIF-S record boys water polo record for consecutive league wins with 120, 1969-91.

• Corona del Mar’s girls tennis team, No. 3 in CIF-SS Division 1, beat No. 1 Peninsula on Tuesday, 12-6. Peninsula, of Rolling Hills Estates, has won three straight Division 1 team championships. Corona del Mar’s Jasie Dunk and Danielle Willson swept their singles matches, and the No. 1 doubles team of Camellia Edalat and Brooke Kenerson contributed two points.

• CalHiSports.com’s state volleyball rankings have Mater Dei at No. 1. Other O.C. teams in the California top 20: San Juan Hills (No. 3), Edison (No. 4), Santa Magarita (No. 7) and Huntington Beach (No. 8).

• Mission Viejo football coach Bob Johnson has 319 career wins. The O.C. football career wins record is 321 held by John Barnes, who retired as Los Alamitos’ coach after the 2015 season. Johnson’s wins total is the second-most among active football coaches in California. Lou Farrar, coach at Charter Oak of Covina, is just ahead of Johnson with 320.

• Santa Margarita receiver Grant Calcaterra has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Football Game on Jan. 1 at Orlando, Fla. Calcaterra is a big target at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, and is faster than most guys his size. Great hands, too.

• O.C. football teams in the California to 25 compiled by CalHiSports.com: No. 3 is Mater Dei; No. 4, Mission Viejo; No. 19, Santa Margarita; No. 20, JSerra; No. 24, Servite. Centennial of Corona and St. John Bosco are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. That’s right, five of the Trinity League’s six teams are in the state 25 and the only one missing, Orange Lutheran, was in that top 25 earlier this season.

Todd Dixon’s boys basketball coaching record at El Toro is 431-148. We had that wrong a couple of days ago. Dixon is going into his final season coaching the Chargers, having accepted the head coaching assignment at Santiago Canyon that will launch its mens basketball program for the 2017-18 season.

Contact the writer: @sfryer@scng.com


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