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Glendale, Crescenta Valley water polo notch two of division's top three seeds

Water polo: As expected, Nitros are No. 1 seed, while Falcons are No. 3; Flintridge Prep heads on road.

November 10, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • The Crescenta Valley High and Glendale boys' water polo teams host playoff openers on Wednesday. (Roger Wilson Staff Photographer)
The Crescenta Valley High and Glendale boys' water… (Roger Wilson Staff…)

In its quest to claim the program’s first-ever CIF Southern Section championship, the Glendale High boys’ water polo team finds itself in the familiar, and predicted, position of entering the Division V playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

Crescenta Valley, the Pacific League runner-up to Glendale, also received a lofty seed, taking the No. 3 spot, while Flintridge Prep will travel to face Riverside Poly in a playoff rematch of last season, as playoff pairings were released on Sunday morning.

For the second season in a row, the Nitros enter the playoffs as the No. 1 seed. A year ago, Glendale fell in its first-ever championship appearance against Pasadena Poly. Now, the Nitros (18-6) begin their path in the hopes of winning a CIF championship with a home match at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday against California, an at-large entrant from the Del Rio League, at Burbank High. California boasts a 15-5 record, but went just 1-4 in its league.

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The Nitros are coming off a third straight undefeated run through the Pacific League. Should they advance, they would face either the Prep League’s Webb (14-11) or the Inland Valley League’s Citrus Valley (12-12) on Saturday.

Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said the Nitros will look to draw on last season’s playoff experience to help them in this time around.

“Every single guy back was on the team last year,” Holbrook said. “We now have that extra year of maturity, and it’s done wonders in terms of leadership and staying focused.

“Being No. 1, you still have to be prepared because there are a lot of good teams in the division. We will take our opponents very seriously.”

On the other side of the bracket, Crescenta Valley (15-9), after a second place finish in the Pacific, earned the No. 3 seed and will open up against El Rancho (15-11), the second-place team out of the Del Rio League. The match will begin at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Pasadena City College.

“I don’t think we’re overconfident with anybody,” said Falcons Coach Jan Sakonju of his players’ mindset going in as the No. 3 seed. “We’re looking at one step at a time.

“El Rancho’s a scrappy team. They’ll run a lot of picks and a lot of drives. We just have to be patient with that on defense.”

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