Get there early — or bring a folding chair.
A standing-room-only crowd is expected Wednesday when the St. Francis and Jesuit water polo squads come to Arroyo Pool. These league matches against Davis High will go a long way in determining postseason seeding.
The three old pool foes have 33 Sac-Joaquin Section girls and boys water polo championships among them and, since 1995, only St. Mary’s, Tokay and Johansen have interrupted the triad’s dominance.
Wednesday, the boys play at 4:45 p.m. with the girls following at 5:45 p.m. No admission will be charged.
“The game is important because it’s a league game … with a win, we earn our league’s top playoff seed,” said 25-year DHS boys coach Tracy Stapleton. “Beyond that, playing Jesuit provides a playoff atmosphere that is difficult to replicate in tournaments.”
The locals guys have an 11-4 record, while the Marauders’ misleading dual mark stands at 5-12. JHS has played some powerhouse teams and faltered against Oak Ridge, losing 10-5, in Delta River League play. DHS topped the Trojans, 18-4.
But when Davis and Jesuit play, all bets are off. The Marauders have beaten the Blue Devils in each of the past two CIF finals.
“I expect our players to be ready for this game because, in many respects it is a playoff game,” Stapleton added.
DHS has been paced in recent games by a red-hot Garrett Fisk, nationally recognized attacker Connor Stapleton and a miserly goalkeeper in Jeff Stark.
Meanwhile, the Devil girls — owners of three straight section titles and 14-3 overall record, are coming off of a brilliant performance to capture the Western States tournament championship.
“It was awesome to win,” Davis coach Doug Wright told The Enterprise. “(It) was really a turning point for our team. Everybody really came together and it’s unbelievable what you can accomplish when you work as a group.”
From Mara Dominguez to Heather Johnson to Colby Stapleton and beyond, Wright praised his players for their recent efforts, but saved big kudos for netminder Alicia Demaree.
“She was the difference,” the veteran coach said, adding that Demaree’s 11 blocks in each of the final two games brought home the Blue Devils’ trophy.
So what about St. Francis on Wednesday?
“It is a barometer to see how we match up … find things that we need to improve on and find things that were successful. It is essentially our league championship game, so it’s important for seeding purposes,” Wright said.
The Devils defeated St. Francis, 8-5, in last year’s section title game, and beat the Troubadours by that same score earlier this season in the Woodcreek tournament.
Notes: The Davis Fall Classic will be hosted by the girls this weekend. Then, both Davis teams play at home against Laguna Creek (Oct. 24), then on the road at Rio Americano (Oct. 25). Sacred Heart NorCals (Oct. 26-27) is on the girls agenda before they open the defense of their CIF title on Nov. 2 at Johansen. … Meanwhile, the guys go to the North-South Challenge (Atherton) this weekend. Oct. 26-27 will find the boys at the Finis Memorial Cup (San Jose) before playoffs start on either Oct. 31 or Nov. 2.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.