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CIF notes: Newport Harbor's first-round streak to be tested

OCVARSITY.COM

Orange County’s rich history in the boys water polo playoffs could receive several amendments once the matches start Tuesday. Here’s a few to watch for in the early rounds:

* How does a school become the all-time leader in Division 1 playoff victories? Never lose in the first round helps.

All-time victory leader Newport Harbor (15-10 this season) has never lost in the first round but encounters a tough foe Wednesday when it plays Long Beach Wilson at the outdoor pool at Belmont Plaza at 5 p.m.

The Bruins, third in all-time Division 1 victories, have split two games with the Sailors.

* Sage Hill (13-11) debuts in Division 5 on Tuesday as it plays host to Xavier Prep of Palm Desert in a wild-card match at Woollett at 3:30 p.m.

The winner plays at No. 3 seed Ayala in the first round Wednesday.

“I think we’ll be able to compete a little better in CIF,” Sage Hill coach Tom Norton said before the CIF pairings were released.

The Lightning, runner-up to Webb of Claremont in the first year of the Academy League, moved to Division 5 from Division 3 when they left the Orange Coast League for the Academy.

Senior Chris Wan leads Sage Hill with 83 goals. Senior goalie Rachael Jaffe has 161 saves. The Lightning don’t have a girls water polo team.

* Orange League champion Katella (12-5) was seeded in the Round of 16 in Division 7 but could face a challenge in the first round Thursday.

The Knights will play the winner of Tuesday’s wild-card game between Pacifica of Oxnard and host Ramona of Riverside. Pacifica was ranked seventh in the final Division 7 poll while Katella and Ramona were unranked.

Katella is seeking to advance from the first round for the first since its CIF title season of 2009.

That also was the same year that Santa Ana Valley won a playoff match. The Falcons, runner-up to Katella in the Orange, will try to snap their drought Tuesday when they play host to La Puente in another Division 7 wild-card game.


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