Notes: Los Al 'stoked' to face sizzling Santa Margarita
Los Alamitos’ boys water polo team drew one of the hottest squads in Orange County as a first-round opponent in the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs. So what was Griffins’ coach Dave Carlson’s reaction to his pairing with Santa Margarita?
“I am stoked to get a tough game in the first round (against) one of the hottest teams in Southern California,” he said in a text message of the Eagles (20-9), who went 11-1 in October.
“It’s a great challenge for my team.”
Carlson, who is stepping aside from the boys program after this season, said his Griffins (20-7) “wouldn’t have been upset” had they been paired with top-ranked Mater Dei (27-0) in the first round, which almost happened.
“That’s the team you have to beat to win Division 1,” Carlson wrote of the two-time defending Division 1 champion. “My teams have always believed you either win the whole thing or you don’t. … Nobody orders rings for quarterfinalist, semifinalist, etc.”
Santa Margarita and Los Alamitos will play Wednesday in one of the top matches in Division 1. There has been discussion that the match will be played at Corona del Mar.
The Eagles, whose lone loss in October was against Mater Dei, are seeking their first Division 1 playoff victory since 1997.
“We finally have enough talent to make a statement (in CIF),” Santa Margarita coach Paden Mitchell said after the Eagles claimed the Steve Pal tournament. “But who knows? It’s high school water polo.”
MATER DEI SUPPORT SPECIAL CAUSE
Mater Dei’s boys and girls water polo players volunteered Sunday at the “Buddy Walk” organized by the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County.
The players helped vendors, cheered on walkers and interacted with kids at the event at Angel Stadium. They also helped with the clean up.
“Two of my athletes from (boys water polo) have brothers who have different versions of ‘up’ syndrome,” Mater Dei coach Chris Segesman said in an e-mail. “That is what triggered MD polo being apart of this opportunity. … it was an amazing experience.”
MORE MONARCHS HISTORY
Mater Dei is aiming for a second consecutive undefeated season. The last school to go undefeated back-to-back was Whittier in 1952-53, according to Southern Section water polo historian Bill Prichard.
MATER DEI TRANSFER UPDATE/2013 FORECAST
Mater Dei transfer attacker Andrew Papilion, a junior who arrived this season from JSerra, hasn't play for the Monarchs. Mater Dei has yet to apply to make Papilion eligible, CIF-SS assistant commissioner Kristine Palle said Sunday.
Here's what the Mater Dei starting lineup could look in 2013: GK: McQuin Baron (Sr.); Field: Kent Inoue (Sr.), James Walters (Sr.), Nicholas Silvers (Jr.), Nicholas Lavayen (Jr.), Andrew Papilion (Sr.) and center Jeffrey O'Brien (Sr.).
That's four returning starters, including three junior national team-level players in Baron, Walters and Inoue. The Monarchs could go undefeated next season, running their undefeated streak to 110 games.
In a frosh-soph game Saturday night, Mater Dei defeated Newport Harbor, 7-5.
DANA HILLS WATCH
The Dolphins, who play the University-Huntington Beach winner in the first round Wednesday, lost in the quarterfinals last season to Mater Dei. Dana Hills last made the Division 1 semifinals in 1991 when it was part of the South Coast League's semifinals trio with San Clemente and Capistrano Valley.
If Dana Hills reaches the quarterfinals, its opponent wil likely be Long Beach Wilson, last season's Division 2 champ.
WELCOME THE NEW GUY
San Juan Hills received an at-large bid in Division 3 to qualify for the playoffs for the first time.