Long Beach Poly Millikan Water Polo Wilson

Long Beach Boys’ Water Polo CIF Playoff Preview

Wilson, Millikan and Long Beach Poly are in the second round of three different CIF Southern Section divisional playoffs today.

Division 3: Wilson vs. Ventura at Belmont Outdoor Pool, 5 p.m.
Division 4: Millikan vs. Yorba Linda, 5 p.m.
Division 5: LB Poly vs. Mission Viejo at Laguna Hills HS, 5:30 p.m.

Wilson is the top seed in Division 3 and looked dominant in its opening round victory on Tuesday. The Bruins will be back at Belmont Outdoor Pool to host Ventura this evening.

Wilson got its first postseason win in three years by sticking to the game plan and feeding the big guys down low. Sophomores Zac Crenshaw and Gray Carson scored eight goals on Tuesday, and have combined for 163 goals this season.

“We had to come out hard like we were going to play a Division 1 team,” Crenshaw said. “Establishing dominance is the most important thing in these (playoff) games.”

Crenshaw and Carson both thrive in front of the net where they’ve scored the majority of their goals as starters for the past two seasons.

“We expect a lot from them,” Wilson coach Jeff Nesmith. “Zac is more a natural, pure 2-meter man. Gray can also drive guys in with post up moves.”

Crenshaw and Carson have been playing together for the last six years with Shore club teams and other Olympic Development Program events.

“We have developed great chemistry,” Crenshaw said. “But our defense is just as important as our offense. That’s why our goalie Owen (Gurich) is such a great asset to our team as well.”

Nesmith said Crenshaw and Carson are pretty similar kids, and that’s not a bad thing.

“They’re both a little bit quiet, but some of that’s just because they’re sophomores and they’ll grow up,” Nesmith said. “They’re serious and dedicated to achieving a lot in the sport. They do all of the extra things.”

Wilson is trying to win its 12th CIF championship, and its first since 2011.

Millikan was also dominant in its Division 4 opener with a 11-4 victory over visiting Carpinteria. It was the first playoff win for the Rams in 10 years, and they’re hosting Yorba Linda at 5 p.m.

Long Beach Poly hadn’t won a first-round playoff game since 1979 until Tuesday when the Jackrabbits knocked off Buena. Poly travels to Division 5 top-seed Mission Viejo this afternoon.

JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.