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PHOTO, TEXT BY DAN ALBANO, OCVARSITY.COM
Laguna Beach and Riley Thomas, left, moved up from Division 3 to Division 2 this season but has reached the semifinals. They play Santa Barbara on Wednesday.

Notes: Cypress 'stoked' about playoff success

OCVARSITY.COM

Cypress boys water polo coach Erik Sandvig anticipated a successful season.

The Centurions’ senior-laden team returned three four-year starters and a second-year goalie. They also moved from Division 6 to Division 7 for the playoffs.

“I knew this was going to be a great year for us,” Sandvig said Monday.

The Centurions have proved their coach right. They have delivered arguably the greatest season in school history, and it’s not over yet.

Cypress will make its first appearance in the semifinals Wednesday when it takes on second-seeded Don Lugo of Chino at Ayala of Chino Hills at 5 p.m.

"I'm stoked about it," Sandvig said of the playoff history.

Don Lugo, last season’s Division 7 runner-up to Nogales, defeated Cypress, 11-6, earlier this season but Sandvig is excited for a second chance.

Cypress is led by four-year starters Jack Corrigan, Dennis Hyon and Connor Kunihiro.

Sandvig calls Kunihiro the team’s MVP because of his defensive leadership. Kunihiro, a former club player with United, guards 2 meters and calls coverages for a defensive-minded team.

"He's probably the MVP of our team," Sandvig said of Kunihiro, who has 85 steals.

Second-year goalie Bryce Mattson is another key member of the defense. A converted field player, the senior has improved from last season and racked up 258 saves.

Cypress held Colony and Ocean View to a combined 11 goals in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

Hyon, a senior, is the team’s top scorer with 98 goals. Louis Kim, a junior and only non-senior starter, is second with 76 goals.

Corrigan was academically ineligible but returned for the playoffs.

Cypress lost to Don Lugo at the Central Orange County tournament but Sandvig believes his team missed several scoring chances in the game.

“We definitely know we can play with these guys,” he said. “They’re definitely a great team … but I like our chances. Our guys have to step up and play big.”

Cypress' 14-15 record includes seven forfeits for playing with an ineligible player.

LAGUNA BEACH STEPS UP

Laguna Beach’s boys water polo team plays Wednesday in the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals after capturing Division 3 titles in 2010 and 2011. The Breakers (21-9) might be making the jump in divisions look easy but that hasn’t been the case.

Laguna Beach coach Ethan Damato said his team experienced the more challenging depth of Division 2 on Saturday when it won at Murrieta Valley, 10-8.

“We haven’t had a game like that in the quarterfinals in a couple years,” said Damato, whose team plays Santa Barbara in the semifinals. “(Murrieta Valley) played a great game.”

In 2010, Laguna Beach won its Division 3 quarterfinal against Aliso Niguel, 14-4. Last season, the Breakers handled Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach, 19-7, in the quarters.

Laguna Beach also didn’t play a close quarterfinal in 2008 and 2009 in advancing to the Division 3 semifinals.

The Breakers have now won 10 consecutive postseason games. They play No. 2 seed Santa Barbara on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center.

SEMIFINALS RETURN TO WOOLLETT

Woollett is playing host to semifinals for divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4, starting at 2 p.m., on Wednesday.

Spectators can pay a single admission and watch all the matches. Adults are $7 for adults, $5 for high school students and $5 for children 13-and-under.

Time Warner is broadcasting the Division 1 semifinals -- Mater Dei vs. Corona del Mar at 7 p.m. and Loyola vs. Long Beach Wilson at 5 p.m. -- on a tape-delay. The first match will air on Time Warner on Friday at 10 p.m.

Gates open at Woollett on Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. Overflow parking will be available behind the school.


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