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Crescenta Valley girls' water polo looks to finish No. 1

Crescenta Valley Falcons look to win their first CIF title in inaugural championship berth Saturday against Riverside Poly.

February 22, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Crescenta Valley's Elissa Arnold has contributed seven goals and six steals for the Falcons this postseason.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Crescenta Valley's Elissa Arnold… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

After falling one step short in consecutive years, the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team has earned a trip to the program's first-ever CIF Southern Section Division championship game.

True to form, the Falcons did so impressively with a double-digit win over Redlands East Valley in the Division V semifinals Wednesday at Whittier College. Top-seeded Crescenta Valley will look to win its first-ever CIF title against a highly-decorated No. 2 Riverside Poly squad at Irvine's William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center Saturday at 5 p.m.

“I would definitely think that the last two years are learning experiences for the girls,” first-year CV Coach Brent Danna said of the team's semifinal exits in 2011 and 2012. “It's always nice to get through that because we're going to go up against Riverside Poly and they have a rich tradition of CIF championships.”

The Bears are competing in their fifth CIF championship after they won a trio of Division III titles from 2008-2010 and competed in Division II last year before leaving the Big VIII League in favor of the Inland Valley League this past offseason, according to the Press Enterprise.

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“They just jumped from Division II from Division V so they've been playing some stiff competition and have a history of winning in CIF,” Danna said of the Bears. “We have a legacy of league championships, but we don't have a history of CIF championships and that's something we're trying to create. Even though Riverside Poly does have that in their back pocket, we have a group of girls that's determined as hell to win one.”

Much like Crescenta Valley, Riverside Poly looked to be head and shoulders above Division V coming into the semifinals. The Bears opened the tournament with wins over Redlands (16-2) and Lompoc Cabrillo (21-5), but just edged Warren, 8-7, in the semifinals.

The waters remained calm for the Falcons, who have outscored their playoff opponents, 40-14, in the playoffs, when they defeated No. 3 Redlands East Valley, 14-4, in the semis.

Ashley Taylor, CV's leading scorer in the playoffs with 10 goals, admitted it could be a bit of a challenge bouncing back from an emotional semifinals victory.

“Honestly, our team is so great and we all know how to regroup,” she said Wednesday. “We only have one more game, two more practices. It might be a little difficult, but I think we can do it.”

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