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Playoff Roundup : Water Polo

November 05, 1987

Miraleste missed the Southern Section water polo playoffs last year because of an ineligible player. Wednesday, the team started making up for lost time.

Led by Steve Barber's nine goals, the Marauders opened the 2-A playoffs with a 22-9 win over visiting Trabuco Hills.

Coach Chick McIlroy said his players, most of whom were on last year's team, were anxious to prove themselves.

"They're hungry," McIlroy said. "They know it's their last chance to do well in the CIF playoffs. This was the best game the team has played all year."

The Marauders (24-3) will face South Pasadena, a 12-10 winner over Valencia, in the second round at South Pasadena. McIlroy said the game will be played either Friday or Saturday.

Barber, a 6-foot-6 driver who is being recruited by UCLA and UC Berkeley, led the Miraleste offense, which scored most of its goals on counter attacks.

Fellow seniors Steve Kan, Jason Tomaino and Robert Hopkins each added three goals for the unbeaten Pioneer League champions. Kan is the league's Most Valuable Player.

Miraleste qualified for the playoffs last year by taking third in league play, but was prevented from competing in postseason action when the school detected it had inadvertently used an ineligible player.

"It was frustrating," said McIlroy, a member of the U.S. Olympic water polo team in 1960 and '64. "The teams that took first and second in our league ended up third and fourth (in the playoffs). It was particularly frustrating for this group, because they were all juniors."

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