Choppy playoff waters loom for defending champ Aztecs

Choppy playoff waters loom for defending champ Aztecs

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Choppy playoff waters loom for defending champ Aztecs

When it comes to the quest for a back-to-back title in any sport at any level, the second one is always tougher than the first. The Palm Desert High School girls’ water polo team found that out Saturday when the playoff brackets were revealed.

La Quinta and Palm Desert water polo action on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in La Quinta.

La Quinta and Palm Desert water polo action on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 in La Quinta.

After capturing the Division 5 title last year, the Aztecs were bumped all the way up to Division 2 this year — which was already going to be a daunting task — and now the DVL champions know they will start their playoff quest on the road against one of the best teams in the division.

Palm Desert (26-3) will play at Riverside Poly, the Inland Valley champions, in the first-round of the 16-team Division 2 bracket on Wednesday. Riverside Poly is the No. 2-ranked team in the division, while the Aztecs are unranked.

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La Quinta, the second-place team in the DVL, which just upset Palm Desert last week ending the Aztecs’ years-long unbeaten streak, will start its playoff journey at home. The original bracket released by the CIF had the Blackhawks on the road against the No. 4 team in the division, but a revision of the whole bracket by the CIF worked in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks (19-8) will be at home Wednesday vs. the winner of a wild-card game between Peninsula and Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks).

Xavier Prep, the desert’s only ranked team, finishing the year at No. 3 in the Division 5 rankings, will start it’s quest from the wild-card round but will host its opening game.

The Saints are home on Tuesday against Culver City in a wild-card game to played at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center. With a win, they would play Wednesday at Jurupa Valley.

La Quinta womens water polo plays Xavier Prep, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017.

La Quinta womens water polo plays Xavier Prep, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017.

The final desert team to make it to the postseason is the Palm Springs Indians. The Indians are in Division 7 which features the only 32-team bracket. The Indians, who finished in fourth place in the DVL, will play at San Bernardino in a first-round game on Tuesday.

All four games with desert teams in them are scheduled to start at 5 p.m., but the start time can change if both teams agree.

CIF playoff schedule

TUESDAY’S GAMES

Girls’ water polo

D5: Culver City at Xavier Prep (at Palm Desert Aquatic Center), 5 p.m.

D7: Palm Springs at San Bernardino, 5 p.m.

WEDNESDAY’S GAMES

Girls’ water polo

D2: Palm Desert at Riverside Poly, 5 p.m.

D4: Peninsula/Notre Dame at La Quinta, 5 p.m.

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