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Intriguing matchups ahead for girls water polo
LOS ALAMITOS – The marquee matchups appear on the way.
Orange County's water polo fans just need to wait for the weekend to arrive.
The release of the CIF-Southern Section's girls water polo playoff brackets Sunday didn't offer up many scintillating first-round pairings in Division 1 or 2, but the brackets create the possibility of epic quarterfinal rounds in Division 1 on Friday and Division 2 on Saturday.
In Division 1, two-time defending champion Dos Pueblos of Goleta (27-0), which has a 63-game winning streak, gained the top seed as expected. Edison (15-11), the red-hot third-place team from the Sunset League, starts in the wild-card round Tuesday but could land in the quarterfinals against Dos Pueblos with two victories.
Sunset League runner-up and county No. 3 Newport Harbor (22-5) grabbed the No. 4 seed and could face Laguna Beach (20-7), ranked No. 1 in Orange County, in the quarterfinals.
In the bottom half of the bracket, county No. 4 Corona del Mar (19-7) claimed the No. 3 seed. The Sea Kings could be one victory from a meeting with darkhorse Santa Barbara (19-8).
Sunset champion and county No. 2 Los Alamitos (24-3) took the No. 2 seed as expected and could be headed toward a clash with Century winner Foothill (16-10) from the No. 7 position.
In Division 2, South Coast League champion San Clemente (20-5) is seeded first. On Saturday, the Tritons could face the winner of Thursday's Riverside Poly-Santa Margarita opener.
In the bottom half of the bracket, if South Coast runner-up El Toro (19-10) gets past Westlake (14-8), the Chargers could collide with third-seeded Santiago of Corona (21-3) in the quarterfinals.
"That would be a great match-up," Southern Section assistant commissioner Kristine Palle said of a potential El Toro-Santiago match.
Trinity champion Mater Dei (17-11) drew the No. 7 position and faces a potential date with second-seeded Montebello (20-7) in the quarterfinals.
"I'm really excited to see this bottom half of the bracket play out," Palle said. "There's a lot of parity (in Division 2)."
Divisions 1-4 will play their semifinals at Irvine’s William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center on Feb. 23.
First-team Sea View champion Dana Hills (23-6) is seeded second to Harvard-Westlake (23-2) in Division 4.
In Division 7, Garden Grove (18-6) received the top seeded and a rare first-round bye in a 16-team bracket. There were only 15 qualifying teams in the division, creating a bye.