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High Schools | BOYS' WATER POLO

Villa Park Isn't Second Tier

September 26, 2004|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

There's nothing second rate about the strength of Southern Section Division II boys' water polo teams this season. Villa Park, Los Alamitos and Anaheim Servite exemplified that on the final day of the South Coast tournament Saturday at Newport Harbor High.

Villa Park defeated three-time defending Division I champion Long Beach Wilson, 9-7, in the championship game, getting five goals from Kevin Mundia and 14 saves from goalkeeper Andy Stevens.

Los Alamitos knocked off the No. 4 team from Division I, tournament host Newport Harbor, to finish third and Servite, the tournament's defending champion, took fifth with a one-goal victory over San Diego Section powerhouse La Jolla The Bishop's.

"We've got three Division II teams pretty well represented here," said Villa Park Coach John Carcich. "It might not be like this every year, but this year we're pretty even."

Other coaches in Division I agree. In fact, they view many of the top teams in Division II as one of their own.

"The bottom line, in Orange County, all of it is Division I," said Lake Forest El Toro Coach Don Stoll, whose team is ranked No. 3 in Division I.

Divisions in water polo are based on league affiliation. Villa Park and Servite were not long ago card-carrying members of Division I. Servite left in 1999 when it joined the newly created Serra League. The Century League, which includes Villa Park, dropped into Division II in 2002 with the departure of Santa Ana Foothill.

Villa Park (6-0) and Los Alamitos (11-2) benefit this season from a strong nucleus of returning players. Only North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake, ranked No. 2 in Division I, has as many veterans on its roster.

"Besides Villa Park, Servite and ourselves, even teams like Santa Margarita and [Huntington Beach] Marina are really representing our division," said Los Alamitos Coach Dave Carlson before his team's 8-4 semifinal loss to Wilson. "We're legit."

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