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Northwood at full strength for semifinal with CdM
Timberwolves ready to face Sea Kings for the third time this season.
Moments after watching his squad defeat Montebello, 11-7, in the quarterfinal round of the CIF-SS Division II boys water polo playoffs Saturday, Northwood Coach Ed Carrera began to turn his attention to his team's next challenge.
Carrera was thinking about defending CIF champion Corona del Mar, the team that Northwood meets in one of the semifinal matches Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Woollett Aquatics Center.
Corona del Mar had the edge in both of the Pacific Coast League matches, winning, 11-7, on Sept. 29, at Northwood and 15-11, on Oct. 18 at Corona del Mar.
But Carrera hopes to come up with a plan to give the Timberwolves a chance at an upset Wednesday.
"We've seen them twice this year, they're a great team," Carrera said after Saturday's victory. "We're going to try our best. The good thing for us is that we haven't been at full strength when we played them both times.
"In the first game, we had Tim Shaw, who did a great job for us while Gavin (Konstanzer) wasn't in the goal and Jack Mayers was out. The second time we played them, Bryce Wong wasn't available because he received a brutality in the Tuesday match so he had to sit out the Thursday match and Gavin wasn't in that game either.
"We're going to be at full strength, which is good."
Corona del Mar (23-6) has been dominant in the playoffs with a 25-5 victory over Great Oak and an 18-8 win over Riverside Poly. Ben Zepfel scored five goals to lead the Sea Kings in Saturday's quarterfinal victory.
Northwood had to rally from an early 3-0 deficit to win Saturday's match with Montebello in front of a big crowd at Northwood.
"It was very exciting, we were down and that just inspired us to play harder," Northwood's Billy Monjay said. "We just thought back to the Foothill game (when Northwood rallied from a 5-2 deficit) and we knew we would come back."
Northwood will be making its third trip to the semifinal round.
Northwood reached the CIF finals in 2006, losing to El Toro, 11-8. Steve Carrera, Ed Carrera's brother, was the coach.
Northwood also fell in the CIF finals in 2007 to Newport Harbor, 11-3. Ed Carrera was an assistant coach.
Now, Carrera is the head coach and having a memorable year.
"I'm enjoying the coaching aspect of it and keeping these kids focused through all the emotions they're going through," he said. "The winning is the icing on the cake."
The winner of Wednesday's match plays the Villa Park-Long Beach Wilson winner in the finals Saturday at 2:45 p.m. at the Woollett Center.