Following their respective journeys through the arduous Pacific League, both the Burbank High and Burroughs boys' water polo teams have earned trips to the CIF postseason.
Upon the release Sunday of the CIF Southern Section Division V playoff pairings, though, the Indians and Bulldogs will take far different paths.
Ending up on opposite ends of the bracket, the Bulldogs, having taken second in league and taken up a spot in the division's top 10 for much of the season, will host Arlington on Wednesday in the first round.
"I'm extremely excited about that," said Bulldogs Coach Kristina Garcia of hosting a first-round matchup, which will also be her playoff coaching debut. "Honestly, I'm ecstatic. I'm ecstatic being the coach of these guys. For my first year, I'm pretty lucky ... I get to coach guys that love the sport."
The Indians, perhaps puzzingly, will have to open up Tuesday in a wild-card match, the only one for the division, against Bonita. The winner will then move on to Wednesday's first round against fifth-seeded Riverside Poly.
Riverside Poly (16-10) won the Inland Valley League, while Bonita (6-17) took third in the Hacienda League. Burroughs finished fourth in the Pacific League and sports a 12-10 record. Oddly enough, the Indians, who own a victory over Pasadena and finished above them in the league standings, are playing in a wild-card match, while Pasadena is in the first round as an at-large entry playing against third-seeded Pasadena Poly.
Burbank (13-7) took second in the Pacific League, while Arlington (12-8) was second in the Inland Valley League. Should the Bulldogs prevail, they'll move on to Saturday's quarterfinal round to face either Chadwick (11-14) or La Serna (20-7), which is the No. 2 seed.
Despite coming off a 17-9 loss in the league tournament final to Glendale, which is the Division V top seed, Garcia believes her Bulldogs will enter the playoffs with their minds right.
"Since the loss to Glendale, the boys still feel confident," Garcia said. "They're all talking about CIF and how they want to go far. Going into it, I know they mean business."
All playoff matches are scheduled for 5 p.m. starts, though Garcia said she was likely to see if the Bulldogs could play at 3:15 p.m. with Glendale and La Canada possibly hosting matches at Burbank High that same day.