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High Schools | SPOTLIGHT ON WATER POLO

Krikorian, Mira Costa Are Ready to Defend Title

November 08, 2001|Dan Arritt

Tyler Krikorian's numbers aren't as big, and Manhattan Beach Mira Costa doesn't appear as hungry. Could last season's Southern Section championship be a one-time deal for Krikorian and the Mustangs, or is the real season just beginning?

"I think the kids have been looking forward to the playoffs the last couple weeks," Coach Jon Reichardt said. "The last few games, our focus hasn't been there."

Krikorian had 147 goals last season, earning Division III player of the year honors. Those numbers also helped Krikorian draw the attention of opponents' defenses this fall, as he has been limited to 96 goals heading into today's first-round playoff game against visiting San Marino.

"It has been hard getting as many scoring opportunities as last season, but it has opened things up for other players," said Krikorian, a senior who hopes to play for UCLA, where his cousin, Adam Krikorian, is the coach.

Tyler Krikorian said the Mustangs are deeper, faster and better shooters than a year ago, but haven't been as motivated.

Even so, Mira Costa (20-6) hasn't lost since late September, mainly because it has experience at both ends of the pool, with Krikorian and goalkeeper Will Didinger, a Division III first-team selection last season.

Reichardt, who was the division's coach of the year last season, was the San Diego Section's co-player of the year in 1984 at Coronado High.

"He's a pretty mellow guy," Krikorian said. "He never really tells us about when he played, but when we go down to Coronado, everybody knows him. He's a legend."

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Time contraction: Instead of the usual two-week playoff period, culminating with the Southern Section divisional championships the day before Thanksgiving, this year's playoffs will conclude Nov. 17 at Belmont Plaza in Long Beach. That's four victories in 10 days for any team hoping to win a title.

Section officials decided before the season to hold the six championship games on a Saturday, rather than a weeknight, so each could be played on the same day at the same site. The change of date also allows families to leave town for the holiday.

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Looking at the playoffs: El Segundo defeated Redondo, 14-3, last week to set a school single-season record with its 22nd victory. The Eagles (22-6) open the Division III playoffs today against visiting Arcadia....

Should Lake Forest El Toro and Villa Park win their first-round games, they will meet Saturday. The second-seeded Chargers defeated Villa Park, 16-7, on Oct. 5, and their only losses to Division I opponents this season were to Foothill in their season opener and Long Beach Wilson in their season finale....

Ventura is top-seeded in Division IV, even though the Eagles lost twice in the last nine days to second-seeded Santa Barbara. Ventura opens the playoffs today against visiting Calabasas, while Santa Barbara hosts Oxnard....

Newport Harbor Coach Jason Lynch prepared his team for a familiar opponent today. The Sailors host Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley, the team they defeated, 13-8, Friday in the last game of the regular season.

Lynch was also the Cougar coach for seven seasons before taking over at Newport Harbor (14-14) in June.

"Obviously, playing against me is going to give Capistrano Valley extra incentive and emotion to win, which is to their advantage," Lynch said. "Our kids won't have that desire."

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