Winter CIF Playoff matchups announced

Five Wolverine winter sports teams had their postseason fates decided this President’s Day.

Four of them will be heading to CIF Playoffs.

CIF revealed playoff brackets for girls’ soccer,  boys’ basketball, girls’ water polo, boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball Feb. 16 and Feb. 17. Of the five sports, all Harvard-Westlake teams but boys’ soccer clinched a playoff spot and will compete in the first round this week.

A number one seed in the CIF Division I bracket, the Mission League champion Wolverine girls’ soccer team will host Rancho Cucamonga Feb. 21. The team enters with a 17-1-2 overall record in the regular season, including an undefeated record in league play at 9-0-1, with its only loss on the year coming against Mira Costa Dec. 13. Ranked 10th in the nation by MaxPreps.com, the Wolverines will aim to gain early momentum in the playoffs on their campaign to capture the CIF Division 1 Championship, which has eluded them in recent years.

Given an eighth seed out of the Mission League, the boys’ basketball team will look for a turnaround from its first losing regular season in over ten years Feb. 19, when the squad will travel to Costa Mesa for its first round playoff game. Reaching the CIF Division 4AA bracket via an at-large berth, the 11-15  Wolverines will match up against the 19-8 Mustangs, who are ranked number two out of the Orange Coast League. Despite the Mustangs’ advantage record-wise, MaxPreps.com has the Wolverines standing as the higher ranked club – Greg Hilliard’s team is pitted at 87th in the state and 13th in all of Division 4, while Mustang head coach Mike Molina’s team is ranked by MaxPreps as 464th in the state and 56th in Division 4, one key difference being what the site rates as a significantly more difficult schedule for the Wolverines compared to the that of the Mustangs.

Coming off its 7th straight regular season undefeated in Mission League play, the girls’ water polo team will face the winner of Rancho Cucamonga-Redondo Union at Copses Family Pool Feb. 19. Entering at 20-9 overall, the Wolverines are a one-seed in CIF Division 3 out of the Mission League. Having won 75 consecutive league games dating back to 2006-2007, Brian Flacks’s squad will aim to trade in its 10-0 league record for playoff success. Falling short in 2012-2013 with a semifinals defeat to Palos Verdes, the Wolverines will look return to their former glory of 2010-2011 and 2011-2012, when the Wolverines won back-to-back CIF titles. The Wolverines will learn which side they will go against following the wild card game between Rancho Cucamonga and Redondo Feb. 17.

With a 17-12 overall record in the regular season, the girls’ basketball team earned a number three ranking out of the Mission League in the CIF Division 4AA bracket and will face Duarte on the road Feb. 20. The opposing Falcons went 16-9 overall and 12-2 in the Montview league to clinch a two-seed. Head coach Melissa Hearlihy, guard Lindsay Tse ’16 and company will attempt to expand on last year’s finish, in which the team topped Notre Dame Academy in the first round with a game-winning buzzer-beater, but were eliminated by Bishop Montgomery in round two.

Concluding its season at 7-8-3 overall, the boys’ soccer team failed to reach CIF Division I playoffs and was unable to earn a wild card position. The Wolverines will not get their shot at redemption after suffering a 2-1 elimination loss to San Clemente in the second round of playoffs last year. Lucas Bongarra’s squad went 4-5-3 in Mission League play and were hampered by the loss of three players who were dismissed midseason.

Girls’ soccer, boys’ basketball, girls’ water polo and girls’ basketball join wrestling as Wolverines squads qualifying for CIF playoffs. Led by Mission League champions Patrick Halkett ’14 and Jake Bracken ’14, the wrestling team will send 10 Wolverines to CIF Championships at Westminster High School Feb. 21-22 after all 10 qualified at league finals Feb. 1.

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