The San Diego Section water polo playoffs are about to make a splash in both gender fields with championship games scheduled Saturday, June 19, at Granite Hills High School.
Both boys and girls teams that have advanced to the finals will participate in the day-long competition.
Eight gender championship games are scheduled that should make just about any water polo or aquatics enthusiast ready to jump into the water and celebrate with the winning teams.
Coaches across the board, regardless of how far their teams advanced in postseason play, are ecstatic the season has reached this point.
“I think there has been so much adversity to overcome together with graduation and everything,” said veteran El Capitan High School coach Robin Sanchez, who picked up his 450th career girls water polo coaching victory on May 25 against Monte Vista and has eclipsed the 900-win plateau in both gender fields. “I think tournament director Brian Wilbur and the advisory committee have done a great job. It’s the same thing with everybody — we’re glad we’re doing it.”
Time to shine
•The Division III girls final is scheduled for an early 9 a.m. start.
Second-seeded Mater Dei Catholic (10-6) secured a berth in the championship game after edging third-seeded Hilltop (12-4) by a tight 4-3 score in Monday’s lower bracket semifinal while top-seeded Valley Center (13-2) and fourth-seeded Ramona (5-9) were scheduled to battle for the remaining finals berth in Wednesday’s upper bracket semifinal match.
•The Division III boys final is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and will pit top-seeded Hilltop (15-0) and sixth-seeded Ramona (8-8).
Finalists were determined in Monday’s semifinals at the Granite Hills pool as Hilltop slipped past fifth-seeded West Hills (9-13) by a score of 12-11 in double overtime and Ramona upset second-seeded Santa Fe Christian (10-4) by a score of 9-8.
•The Division II girls final is scheduled for a noon face-off.
Finalists were to be determined in Thursday’s semifinals as top-seeded Santana (18-0) and fourth-seeded Santa Fe Christian (12-1) battled for a chance to advance in the upper bracket while second-seeded Patrick Henry (12-1) and third-seeded La Costa Canyon (12-1) tangled in the lower bracket.
•The Division II boys final is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Finalists were to be determined in Thursday’s semifinals between top-seeded Clairemont (15-0) and fourth-seeded Santana (17-2) in the upper bracket and second-seeded Mt. Carmel (11-3) and third-seeded Helix (10-6) in the lower bracket.
•The Division I girls final is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Finalists were to be determined in Wednesday’s semifinals between top-seeded Helix (10-5) and fourth-seeded Rancho Bernardo (8-5) in the upper bracket and second-seeded Clairemont (13-4) and sixth-seeded Valhalla (9-7) in the lower bracket.
•The Division I boys final is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Finalists were to be determined in Wednesdays’ semifinals matchups between top-seeded Mar Vista (13-2) and fourth-seeded Poway (9-4) in the upper bracket and third-seeded Valhalla (10-6) and second-seeded Canyon Crest Academy (11-10) in the lower bracket.
•The Open Division girls final is scheduled for 6 p.m. between top-seeded Bishop’s (14-0) and second-seeded Carlsbad (15-1).
Finalists were to be determined in Tuesday’s semifinals as Bishop’s shut out fifth-seeded Cathedral Catholic (9-7) by a score of 18-0 in the upper bracket and Carlsbad eliminated third-seeded Coronado (9-6) by a score of 9-5 in the lower bracket.
The Open Division boys final is scheduled to top off the day with a 7:30 p.m. evening clash between top-seeded Bishop’s (14-0) and third-seeded Cathedral Catholic (11-3).
•Finalists were determined in Tuesday’s semifinals as Bishop’s defeated fourth-seeded Grossmont (11-4) by a score of 15-6 in the upper bracket and Cathedral Catholic upset second-seeded La Jolla (11-4) by a score of 8-6 in the lower bracket.
Making a splash
West Hills upset fourth-seeded San Marcos, 12-10, in double overtime in last Friday’s Division III quarterfinals while Hilltop needed double overtime to slip past eighth-seeded High Tech High San Diego by the same score.
West Hills opened the playoffs with a 15-3 first-round win over 12th-seeded Castle Park, the Metro-Pacific League champion, on June 9.
Grossmont Valley League champion Santana (8-0 in league) edged fifth-seeded Mission Hills, 8-7, behind five goals by Matt Spry while Helix defeated sixth-seeded Fallbrook, 14-11, in a pair of Division II boys quarterfinal games on June 10.
El Capitan, seeded 10th, and Granite Hills, seeded 12th, also qualified for the Division II boys playoffs.
Granite Hills (4-11) bowed out in begrudging fashion by a score of 9-8 to fifth-seeded Mission Hills in the opening round on June 8 while seventh-seeded Classical Academy handed El Capitan (10-5) an 18-11 setback to end the Vaqueros’ season.
Valhalla, the Grossmont Hills League runner-up eliminated sixth-seeded San Pasqual, 12-10, in last Saturday’s Division I quarterfinals after receiving a first-round bye.
Steele Canyon, seeded seventh, also qualified for the Division I boys playoff field. Steele Canyon eliminated 10th-seeded Point Loma, 15-7, in the opening round on June 8.
Grossmont Hills League champion Grossmont defeated fifth-seeded Carlsbad, 14-12, in the Open Division boys quarterfinals on June 9.
Grossmont received the No. 8 seed in the Open Division girls field but ended its season with a 22-2 loss to top-seeded Bishop’s.
Valhalla recorded a 6-5 upset win over third-seeded El Camino in last Saturday’s Division I quarterfinals while Helix doubled up eighth-seeded Fallbrook, 16-8, to also advance.
Valhalla opened the playoffs with a 15-11 win over 11th-seeded Canyon Crest Academy on June 8.
West Hills received the No. 9 seed in the Division I girls field but was unable to advance past the opening round following a 12-7 loss to Fallbrook.
Santana advanced to the Division II semifinals with an 11-5 win over eighth-seeded Mission Bay in quarterfinal action on June 10 while Santa Fe Christian eliminated 12th-seeded Steele Canyon (7-12) by an 8-4 score in the quarterfinals after Steele Canyon had pulled off a huge 8-1 upset win over fifth-seeded San Dieguito Academy (8-4) in the opening round on June 8.
Besides Santana and Steele Canyon, No. 6 El Capitan and No. 10 Granite Hills also made the Division II playoff cut.
Granite Hills recorded a 15-9 upset win over seventh-seeded Eastlake (5-9) in opening round play on June 8 while El Capitan (10-6) was upset, 16-8, by 11th-seeded San Pasqual (8-8) to end its season prematurely.
Granite Hills (5-10) dropped an 8-5 decision to Patrick Henry in the quarterfinals.