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Girls' Water Polo Playoffs: CdM, Tars earn top seeds

Sea Kings, Newport Harbor could meet in title match, but expect tough roads to advance that far.

February 13, 2012|By Matt Szabo

Newport Harbor appears to have an easier path to the semifinals. Should the Sailors win their first-round match, they'd play either Palos Verdes or Canyon of Anaheim on the road in the quarterfinals. Palos Verdes was unranked in the final Division I poll, and Canyon was ranked No. 10. The Sailors beat Palos Verdes, 12-6, in a nonleague game Jan. 21.

"I think we're in a great position to get to the semis or the finals," Michigan-bound senior captain Presley Pender said. "I feel like we're peaking at the right time. We're really excited."

The Tars bring a 12-game winning streak into the playoffs. UCLA-bound senior Maddy McLaren and junior Carly Christian lead the team with 58 and 49 goals, respectively.

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The Sailors have won four CIF titles. The last one came in 2008, before Dos Pueblos began its current run in Division I. That year, Newport rallied to beat CdM in overtime, 6-5, in the final. Each of the meetings this year have also been close, with three one-goal margins.

"We've been working so hard in practice just to match up with them in the finals," Pender said. "Beating them [at the SoCal Championships] felt so good, and I think we all want that feeling again."

Junior Kellie Thorsness leads Costa Mesa with 85 goals. Postiff has his team in the playoffs for the ninth time in his 10-year tenure, but he knows playing Los Alamitos will be a huge challenge. The Griffins finished the year ranked No. 5 in Division I.

Mesa has already played a top contender recently, losing to No. 3-seeded Laguna Beach, 21-3, in its final Orange Coast League game.

"It'll be a great learning experience for our kids," Postiff said. "The girls understand what's ahead of them. I think if we play with some confidence we could have a better showing than we did at Laguna."

matthew.szabo@latimes.com

Twitter: @mjszabo

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