May 30, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Northwood boys water polo team wraps up PCL with 16-4 win over Irvine and gears up for CIF playoffs

Cameron An of Northwood takes a shot Tuesday against Irvine. (Photos courtesy Michael An).

Northwood’s boys water polo team looks ready for the start of the CIF Division 3 playoffs next week.

The Timberwolves wrapped up Pacific Coast League Tuesday afternoon with a 16-4 victory over Irvine at the Woollett Aquatics Complex.

To see the slide show, please click on the first photo.

Northwood (21-7, 8-2) had some momentum coming into the match. The Timberwolves finished second in the league behind league champion Woodbridge. Northwood, by virtue of a strong showing at the Steve Pal Tournament, was seeded second in this week’s CIF Division 3 poll.

“One thing I like is the Steve Pal (Tournament) gave us a lot of confidence and we wanted to make sure that even though we know we got second in the Pacific Coast League, we’re still playing consistently because we know Division 3 is going to have a lot of tough teams,” said Northwood Coach Kyle Kim-E. “Honestly, because it’s so spread out with teams like Santa Barbara and San Marcos, we don’t see a lot of the competition so we want to make sure we are consistent and coming out with high intensity every game, no matter who we play.”

Kim-E expects the rankings to hold up, meaning Northwood would be the No. 2 seed when the playoffs begin, giving the Timberwolves a legitimate shot at a CIF title.

“It’s nice for the first year we have an automatic berth into CIF (playoffs), Kim-E said.

Kim-E and his players are hoping the team can compete for a CIF crown.

“It’s definitely possible and obviously based on rankings, looks promising but at the same time, we have to play four more or five more potentially tough games and we will take it one game at a time,” Kim-E said.

Northwood jumped out to an 11-2 lead at halftime and led 14-2 after three quarters against Irvine.

Charlie Shobe scored five goals and Max Abravanel and Cameron An had three goals each for the Timberwolves.

“We’ve had of guys step up and we’ve been able to run a very well balanced offense this entire season,” Kim-E said. “It makes it hard for other teams to defend us when we have five or six different guys scoring so that’s been one of our biggest strengths.”

CIF playoff pairings are scheduled to be announced Saturday and OC Sports Zone will carry them.

FIVE QUESTIONS WITH NORTHWOOD WATER POLO STAR MAX ABRAVANEL

NORTHWOOD MOVES UP IN CIF RANKINGS; ALL DIVISIONS LISTED

-Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com