Their rosters turn over every year and there are always new faces and old friends. When it comes down to it, though, the Central Coast Section boys Division II water polo championship trophy will be displayed, once again, somewhere near Valparaiso Ave., on the Atherton side.
Sam Untrecht scored five goals to lead Menlo School past Valley Christian-San Jose, 14-8, in the early semifinal match at Menlo-Atherton and Andrew Churukian scored four times to help guide Sacred Heart Prep, 17-7, past Soquel in the later match Tuesday and there you have it.
Sacred Heart Prep (22-6) and Menlo (27-2) have a return engagement in Saturday's championship final at Independence High at a time to be determined.
"There are no secrets between these two teams," Gators' coach Brian Kreutzkamp said. "All the kids know each other, they play club together."
One or the other has been in the past 20 Division II finals, and they're facing each other for the 10the time in 14 years. Sacred Heart Prep is 6-3 against the Knights in those situations.
"Well, we are the two best teams in the CCS," Menlo coach Jack Bowen said. "I even read on a water polo board that people rank Sacred Heart Prep fourth or fifth in the nation and us ninth or 10th. So this game has a national spotlight on it."
Menlo and Sacred Heart each own wins over three of the four teams involved in the Division I tournament and have defeated several other NorCal powerhouses.
Sacred Heart Prep is seeking its sixth consecutive CCS title. Menlo is looking for its first title since 2010 and its sixth overall.
"It's a relief to get by Valley Christian and to focus solely on the finals," said Menlo senior Ben Wagner, who added three goals in the win. "We do all know each other, but for a while on Saturday, we won't be friends."
Sacred Heart Prep senior Jackson Enright, who scored three times, echoed those sentiments.
"It definitely increases the competitiveness when you play against friends," he said. "They always have a great team but we'll approach it like it's another game."
Valley Christian scored the game's first goal and Menlo responded with five straight goals and eventually built a 10-3 advantage.
The Warriors did make a run, scoring three straight to draw within 11-7 by the end of the third quarter.
"Valley Christian is a good team and you have to respect them," Bowen said. "Otherwise you see what happens."
Niko Bhatia, Jayden Kunwar and Scott Little each added a pair of goals for Menlo.
Sacred Heart Prep scored early and often, though Kreutzkamp thought the defense needed a little tending.
"You always have to be careful," he said. "We were a little sloppy in the first half but we were much better after that."
Larsen Weigle added three goals for the Gators.