CCA Water Polo 2011 Valley League Champions

The Canyon Crest Academy boys’ water polo team clinched their 3rd consecutive Valley League championship with victories over Valley Center and San Dieguito Academy last week. The Ravens also wrapped up their second consecutive season going undefeated in league play, a remarkable accomplishment for a program only six years old.

On Thursday against Valley Center at Cathedral Catholic High School, the Ravens got off to a slow start and trailed at halftime before three goals by senior Matteo Lanza-Billeta and a crucial last-minute save by senior Jeffrey Elsner led the Ravens to a 5-4 victory, all but securing the Ravens’ league title. They finished the job on Saturday with a 12-1 victory over San Dieguito Academy at Del Norte High School, in which juniors John and Jerry Guess and senior Matteo Lanza-Billeta each contributed three goals and sophomore Kyle Grozen added five assists.

With the regular season completed and a championship secured, the team is now focused on the CIF Division II playoffs, beginning this week with games across San Diego County. With the talent in the division more balanced than ever before, Canyon Crest is looking to make a big statement in this year’s tournament.

“A league championship is great, and it marks a goal off of our list,” said junior John Guess, “but now we’re determined to reach our next one: CIF finals.”

Reaching the championship game (to be played Nov. 19 at La Jolla High School) might be considered a lofty goal for a program that has never advanced past the second round, but CCA’s players are determined, focused, and ready to fight for an opportunity more reachable than ever.

“If we work as a team and play the type of game we’re capable of, there’s no reason we can’t go all the way,” said senior captain and goalie Jeffrey Elsner.

Canyon Crest opens the CIF division II playoffs with a home game on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Cathedral Catholic High School.