By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Sacred Heart Prep players jumped out of the pool at Serra High School in San Mateo on Wednesday just as they would following a particularly good practice.
Reaching the championship game of the Central Coast Section Division II boys' water polo championships is cool, but there's still work to be done.
"It's always been difficult against Soquel," Gators' coach Brian Kreutzkamp said. "This was the third year in a row we've played them in the semifinals and we've been done entering the final quarter the past two years."
This time around the top-seeded Gators took matters into their own hands early, scoring the first 11 goals before the fourth-seeded Knights could respond with one of their own in the third period. Sacred Heart Prep's 15-3 victory was methodical and it did the job.
Junior Harrison Enright led the charge with three goals as the Gators (24-4) advanced to their 10th consecutive CCS title match. They are the defending champions and have won four of the past five titles.
Sacred Heart meets Los Altos for the title at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in Santa Clara's George F. Haines International Swim Center (2625 Patricia Drive, Santa Clara). The No. 3-seeded Eagles (18-11) beat St. Ignatius, 15-8, to qualify themselves for the championship.
Menlo-Atherton and Bellarmine play for the Division I title at 2:30 p.m., two teams the Gators have already beaten this season.
Sacred Heart, which also beat Los Altos for the CCS title last year, can lay claim to being the best in the section should they repeat.
Defensively the Gators shut down Soquel, allowing very few shots. The shots the Knights were able to get off often landed safely in the arms of Gators' goalie Will Runkel, who recorded nine saves in 3 1/2 periods. Phillip Marco had one save in his half period.
"I'm happy we came out and took care of business," Kreutzkamp said.
Bret Hinrichs, Will Conner and Zach Churukian each added two goals for the Gators, while six others each added a goal.
In girls' Division I semifinal action, No. 3 Menlo-Atherton came up short in its bid to reach the finals while dropping an 8-7 decision to No. 2 Leland at Gunn High.
The Bears (15-11) got four goals from junior Jessica Heilman and 16 saves from junior goalie Sierra Sheeper while falling to the Chargers for a third time this season. M-A had a shot to tie with 20 seconds remaining, but a seven-meter shot hit the post and defending Division I champion Leland ran out the clock.
2012 CCS WATER POLO PLAYOFFS
San Benito 9, Palo Alto 8
Pioneer 8, Homestead 7
Los Gatos 9, Evergreen Valley 6
Gunn 21, Carlmont 3
Menlo-Atherton 9, Los Gatos 5
Leland 21, San Benito 5
Mitty 10, Gunn 8
St. Francis 15, Pioneer 1
Wednesday at Gunn
St. Francis 11, Mitty 7
Leland 8, Menlo-Atherton 7
Saturday at George F. Haines International Swim Center, Santa Clara: St. Francis (24-4) vs. Leland (22-5), 1 p.m.
Soquel 11, Harker 4
San Lorenzo Valley 10, Aptos 9
Presentation 8, Monterey 4
Santa Catalina 7, Willow Glen 6
Presentation 11, Burlingame 8
St. Ignatius 16, San Lorenzo Valley 4
Castilleja 10, Soquel 8
Sacred Heart Prep 11, Santa Catalina 2
Sacred Heart Prep 11, Castilleja 5
St. Ignatius 9, Presentation 4
Saturday at George F. Haines International Swim Center, Santa Clara: No. 1 Sacred Heart Prep (20-8) vs. No. 2 St. Ignatius (11-14), 10 a.m.
Lynbrook 15, Monta Vista 14
Mountain View 14, Pioneer 9
Leland 18, Carlmont 4
Palo Alto 14, Los Gatos 6
Menlo-Atherton 12, Leland 4
St. Francis 23, Lynbrook 8
Mountain View 10, Serra 9
Bellarmine 11, Palo Alto 4
Menlo-Atherton 11, St. Francis 10
Bellarmine 16, Mountain View 12
Saturday at George F. Haines International Swim Center, Santa Clara: No. 1 Bellarmine (17-11) vs. No. 3 Menlo-Atherton (14-12), 2:30 p.m.
Burlingame 10, Willow Glen 9
Carmel 15, R.L. Stevenson 7
St. Ignatius 13, Santa Cruz 8
Valley Christian 15, Sobrato 2
Los Altos 9, Carmel 4
St. Ignatius 8, Menlo School 7
Soquel 11, Valley Christian 9
Sacred Heart Prep 18, Burlingame 0
Wednesday at Serra
Sacred Heart Prep 15, Soquel 3
Los Altos 15, St. Ignatius 8
Saturday at George F. Haines International Swim Center, Santa Clara: Sacred Heart Prep (24-4) vs. Los Altos (18-11), 11:30 a.m.