Greg Bracamonte and his Central High boys water polo teammates certainly appreciated the benevolent gesture that allowed them to play in their own pool one final time this season, but that didn't stop the Grizzlies from roughing up Sunnyside in the opening round of the Central Section playoffs.
Bracamonte scored a game-high six goals Wednesday as ninth-seeded Central rolled past the No. 8 Wildcats 15-9 in a Division I game that was a blowout through three quarters.
"We wanted this really bad," said Bracamonte, who raised his season total to 84 goals. "We knew we had to play our best."
A paperwork snafu led to Central (12-9) being left out of the original D-I playoff seedings announced Friday. Rather than reseeding the bracket, section commissioner Jim Crichlow assigned the Grizzlies the No. 9 seed, despite head-to-head victories over No. 6 Clovis East, No. 7 Bullard and No. 8 Sunnyside.
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But Wildcats coach Rick Eoff decided to give up his home game, allowing the Grizzlies to host a doubleheader, where Central's seventh-seeded girls entertained No. 10 Monache after the boys game.
"I just thought that Central should have been the No. 6 seed, definitely not the 9 seed," Eoff said. "The least we could do was swap [playoff sites]. It was the right thing to do."
With Bracamonte scoring half of his team's goals, Central bolted to an 8-2 halftime lead and never looked back.
The Grizzlies would get goals from seven players, including three from Dominic Favagrossa and two from Daniel Yuk. Central also received a strong effort from goalie Kevin Richey, who made 17 saves.
"Our guys wanted to play good polo tonight by letting the offense flow from the defense," Central coach Rick Klatt said. "And they were able to do that."
Central advances to face top-seeded and Tri-River Athletic Conference champion Clovis -- which won section titles in 2009 and 2008 -- in a quarterfinal Saturday. The Cougars topped Central twice in TRAC play.
"I think it's going to be a good match," Bracamonte said. "We just have to bring our A-game."
Sunnyside (13-17) was playing its first D-I playoff game after being promoted from D-II.
The Wildcats were led by Jon Zamorano's three goals, including two in the fourth quarter as they tried to rally from a 10-goal deficit.
"We got off to a rough start offensively," Eoff said. "We didn't have an answer for how they were defending us. But I'm happy with how we kept fighting."
IN OTHER ACTION
Boys water polo
- No. 9 Edison 14, No. 8 Fresno 8: Kyle Kipp equaled the Warriors' output by himself, scoring eight times for the Tigers. Akio Lopez and Tim Ryan added two goals each for Edison, which plays top-seeded Clovis North on Saturday.
- No. 8 Sanger 18, No. 9 Madera South 4: The Apaches received goals from seven different players, led by Jake Harper's six, in a route of the Stallions. Aidan Feigel scored four goals for Sanger, which travels to top-seeded Garces on Saturday.
Girls water polo
- No. 7 Central 8, No. 10 Monache 5: Amanda Gonzales and Michelle Scarabello scored three goals apiece to lead the Grizzlies, who advance to face No. 2 Clovis on Saturday.
- No. 8 Madera 6, No. 9 Hanford 5: Desserae Webb and Nicole Greene scored two goals apiece, and Heidi Bales made 10 saves as the Coyotes edged the Bullpups to move on to a quarterfinal Saturday against No. 1 Memorial.