Sports

It's best vs. best in North-South Water Polo Challenge

 

There's nothing like a good grudge match. And, when it pits two of the best boys water polo teams in the nation, even better.

That's just one story line for this weekend's 10th annual North-South Water Polo Challenge at the Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo-Atherton pools.

Defending champion Harvard-Westlake was upended by 2013 champ Mater Dei, 11-10, in a nonleague match last week. Mater Dei limited 6-foot-5 Ben Hallock, a member of the U.S. Senior National Team, to just two goals one shot from two meters. Hallock is headed to Stanford in the fall.

The loss snapped the Wolverines' 50-match win streak, which included six straight wins over the Mater Dei Crusaders -- two of which came in the past two CIF Southern Section Division I title games.

"They are 1-1 against each other (this season) and this weekend is the last possible time they will face each other before the playoffs," said Sacred Heart Prep coach Brian Kreutzkamp. "So, the No. 1 seed (in the CIF-SS playoffs) is at stake, as well."

Mater Dei's win over Harvard-Westlake moved the Crusaders into the No. 1 ranking in the CIF-SS Division I poll on Monday. Harvard-Westlake is No. 2.

Loyola is No. 3, Huntington Beach is No. 7 and Agoura is No. 7. In Division II, Dana Hills is No. 2 while Laguna Beach is No. 2 in Division III. All seven teams will compete this weekend in the North-South Challenge.

The final entrant from Southern California is Cathedral Catholic, which was ranked No. 1 in the San Diego Section preseason poll after winning the section title last season.

"So, there are no easy games this weekend," said Kreutzkamp.

Harvard-Westlake won this tourney last year by beating Mater Dei. Loyola was third. In 2013, Mater Dei beat Harvard-Westlake for the title while Sacred Heart Prep finished third.

"It will be our most challenging weekend we will have all season," said Kreutzkamp, whose team dropped an 18-5 decision to Harvard-Westlake in the second round of the S&R Sport Tournament two weekends ago. "It will give us a chance to see where we are at against the best teams in the nation."

The co-host Gators (12-3) will open against Laguna Beach on Friday at 11 a.m. A victory likely means a date with Loyola at 4:25 p.m. Should SHP win twice on Friday, it probably will play Mater Dei in the first of two semifinals on Saturday at 11:20 a.m.

The championship match is Saturday at 5:20 p.m.

"Our first goal is try to get ourselves to the top 8 pool where the best of the best will be," Kreutzkamp said. "I realize we may not be at that level yet, but I want to play them and see if we can get close to them. That is the best way to get ready for Bellarmine next Wednesday (Oct. 28) and the the CCS playoffs after that."

The Gators went 2-2 in this event last season while finishing seventh. They went on to win their fourth straight CCS Division II title and compile a 25-4 record, with all the losses coming against non-CCS opponents.

Also entered this weekend is Menlo School and Menlo-Atherton. The Knights went 2-2 in the North-South last year while the Bears went 1-3, Menlo topped M-A, 15-13, in the 11th-place match.

Menlo (10-8) and M-A (12-5) both will open Friday at M-A. The Knights face Huntington Beach at noon with the Bears taking on Harvard-Westlake at 2:10 p.m.

Other NorCal teams entered include Davis, St. Francis, Miramonte, Campolindo and Acalanes. Miramonte is the only NorCal team to win this tournament, in 2008.

2015 NORTH-SOUTH WATER POLO CHALLENGE

Friday at Sacred Heart Prep

Game 1 -- Sacred Heart Prep vs. Laguna Beach, 11 a.m.

Game 3 -- Loyola vs. Davis, 12:05 p.m.

Game 5 -- Mater Dei vs. St. Francis, 1:10 p.m.

Game 7 -- Miramonte vs. Agoura, 2:15 p.m.

Game 9 -- Game 1 loser vs. Game 3 loser, 3:20 p.m.

Game 11 -- Game 1 winner vs. Game 3 winner, 4:25 p.m.

Game 13 -- Game 5 loser vs. Game 7 loser, 5:30 p.m.

Game 15 -- Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 6:35 p.m.

Friday at Menlo-Atherton High

Game 2 -- Menlo School vs. Huntington Beach, noon

Game 4 -- Dana Hills vs. Acalanes, 1:05 p.m.

Game 6 -- Menlo-Atherton vs. Harvard-Westlake, 2:10 p.m.

Game 8 -- Campolindo vs. Cathedral Catholic, 3:15 p.m.

Game 10 -- Game 2 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 4:20 p.m.

Game 12 -- Game 2 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 5:25 p.m.

Game 14 -- Game 6 loser vs. Game 8 loser, 6:30 p.m.

Game 16 -- Game 6 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 7:35 p.m.

Saturday at Sacred Heart Prep

Game 17 -- Game 11 loser vs. Game 15 loser, 9 a.m.

Game 19 -- Game 12 loser vs. Game 16 loser, 10:10 a.m.

Game 21 -- Game 11 winner vs. Game 15 winner (semifinal), 11:20 a.m.

Game 23 -- Game 12 winner vs. Game 16 winner (semifinal), 12:30 p.m.

Game 25 -- Game 17 loser vs. Game 19 loser (7th place), 1:40 p.m.

Game 27 -- Game 17 winner vs. Game 19 winner (5th place), 2:50 p.m.

Game 29 -- Game 21 loser vs. Game 23 loser (3rd place), 4 p.m.

Game 31 -- Game 21 winner vs. Game 23 winner (1st place), 5:20 p.m.

Saturday at Menlo-Atherton High

Game 18 -- Game 10 loser vs. Game 14 loser, 8 a.m.

Game 20 -- Game 9 loser vs. Game 13 loser, 9:10 a.m.

Game 22 -- Game 10 winner vs. Game 14 winner, 10:20 a.m.

Game 24 -- Game 9 winner vs. Game 13 winner, 11:30 a.m.

Game 26 -- Game 18 loser vs. Game 20 loser (15th place), 12:40 p.m.

Game 28 -- Game 18 winner vs. Game 20 winner (13th place), 1:50 p.m.

Game 30 -- Game 22 loser vs. Game 24 loser (11th place), 3 p.m.

Game 32 -- Game 22 winner vs. Game 24 winner (9th place)

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