The Sacred Heart Prep boys will be defending while the SHP girls will be avenging when the West Catholic Athletic League water polo playoffs get under way this week at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose.
Both Sacred Heart Prep teams have a bye into the semifinals on Thursday after winning their respective regular-season titles. Championship matches are set for Saturday.
Both teams tuned up for the playoffs with solid efforts in tournaments over the weekend. The SHP boys finished second at the Memorial Cup at Bellarmine while the girls were fifth at the NorCal Championships at SHP. Both squads finished with 3-1 records.
The boys defeated Los Alamitos (12-7) and Long Beach-Wilson (12-9 in overtime) on Friday before topping The Bishops School (9-8) in the semifinals on Saturday. In the title match, the Gators (20-4) came up short in a 15-13 loss to Coronado.
A weekend earlier, SHP had finished fifth in the North-South Challenge.
"There was more parity in this tournament," said SHP coach Brian Kreutzkamp."All teams in the top eight were within two goals of each other. North vs. South had Mater Dei and Harvard-Westlake, which are head and shoulders above all of us, so it was a forgone conclusion who was going to play for first."
Senior Michael Swart led the Gators with 15 goals in the four matches with junior Finn Banks adding 13 and senior Nelson Perla-Ward eight. Sophomore goalie JC Marco had 40 saves.
"I am very pleased to finish the season 20-4, considering our aggressive schedule," said Kreutzkamp "Last year's team finished 21-3 in the regular season and we lost some very good Division I talent from that group. But, the most important thing for us are the WCAL and CCS playoffs. We are looking forward to finishing the season on a high note."
The SHP boys have won three straight CCS Division II titles and seven overall since 2003, with 10 appearances in the finals.
The SHP girls, meanwhile, finished strong in the NorCal Championships after dropping a second-round match to eventual champion Campolindo, 14-6. The Gators (18-6) opened with a 10-9 win over Clovis North, topped WCAL rival St. Francis in the third round, 7-5, and defeated No. 5 seed Clovis West for fifth, 10-4.
"It was a great weekend for us," said SHP coach Jon Burke. "We were really happy with our finish and it was a great way to end the regular season. All of the games provided good preparation for the WCAL and CCS playoffs and we were able to try some new things out. We are looking forward to getting our postseason games started this week."
Sacred Heart Prep was the No. 7 seed and was the top finisher from the CCS. Sophomore Maddy Johnston tallied 11 goals in the four matches with junior Malaika Koshy and sophomore Layla Waters adding eight each.
Campolindo, the No. 2 seed, upset defending champion San Ramon Valley, 7-5, in the title match Saturday. It was the Wolves' first loss this season after 23 straight wins.
"I was a bit surprised with the outcome of the finals, but Campolindo is very talented and deep, and they shoot the ball well," said B urke. "They also have an outstanding goalkeeper, who played great in the championship game."
The Gunn girls (17-6) went 1-3 in the two-day tournament and finished 14th after a 9-6 loss to Clovis North. The Titans' lone win was an 8-4 triumph over Menlo-Atherton (10-12), which went 0-4 and finished 16th.
2014 NORCAL WATER POLO CHAMPIONSHIPS
Hosted by Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo-Atherton
At Sacred Heart Prep
Game 1 -- Campolindo 12, St. Francis (Sacramento) 4
Game 3 -- Sacred Heart Prep 10, Clovis North 9
Game 5 -- Monte Vista (Danville) 19, Leland 6
Game 7 -- St. Francis (MV) 11, Davis 7
Game 9 -- St. Francis (Sac.) 11, Clovis North 10 (OT)
Game 11 -- Campolindo 14, Sacred Heart Prep 6
Game 13 -- Davis 6, Leland 5
Game 15 -- Monte Vista 9, St. Francis (MV) 4
At Menlo-Atherton High
Game 2 -- San Ramon Valley 21, Menlo-Atherton 0
Game 4 -- Las Lomas 9, Clovis 5
Game 6 -- Miramonte 11, Gunn 5
Game 8 -- Clovis West 13, Acalanes 6
Game 10 -- Clovis 16, Menlo-Atherton 1
Game 12 -- San Ramon Valley 19, Las Lomas 7
Game 14 -- Acalanes 8, Gunn 1
Game 16 -- Miramonte 10, Clovis West 9
At Sacred Heart Prep
Game 17 -- Sacred Heart Prep 7, St. Francis (MV) 5
Game 19 -- Clovis West 14, Las Lomas 7
Game 21 -- Campolindo 10, Monte Vista (Danville) 5 (semifinal)
Game 23 -- San Ramon Valley 13, Miramonte 5 (semifinal)
Game 25 -- St. Francis (MV) 9, Las Lomas 8 (7th place)
Game 27 -- Sacred Heart Prep 10, Clovis 4 (5th place)
Game 29 -- Monte Vista 12, Miramonte 11 (3rd place)
Game 31 -- Campolindo 7, San Ramon Valley 5 (1st place)
At Menlo-Atherton High
Game 18 -- Clovis North 7, Leland 2
Game 20 -- Gunn 8, Menlo-Atherton 4
Game 22 -- Davis 6, St. Francis (Sac.) 3
Game 24 -- Clovis 17, Acalanes 5
Game 26 -- Leland 13, Menlo-Atherton 6 (15th place)
Game 28 -- Clovis North 9, Gunn 6 (13th place)
Game 30 -- Acalanes 10, St. Francis (Sac.) 7 (11th place)
Game 32 -- Clovis 5, Davis 4 (9th place)
1, San Ramon Valley; 2, Campolindo; 3, Monte Vista (Danville); 4, Miramonte; 5, Clovis West; 6, Davis; 7, Sacred Heart Prep; 8, Clovis; 9, Las Lomas; 10, Clovis North; 11, St. Francis (Mt. View); 12, Acalanes; 13, Gunn; 14, Leland; 15, St. Francis (Sacramento); 16, Menlo-Atherton