By Dan Albano
Servite's boys water polo team almost captured the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 crown last November.
The Friars are aiming to finish the job this fall, and they aren't scared to say it.
Servite signaled its intent in and out of the water Tuesday night by cruising to an 18-2 victory against Freeway League co-champion and host Troy in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs.
Powerful center Guillermo Ocasio scored six goals and slick attacker Jack Dunbar had five goals and nine steals for the third-seeded Friars (18-9), who scored the first eight goals and led 9-1 at halftime.
Christian Martinez added three goals and five steals.
Ocasio scored four of his goals from center, including one off a backhand and another on a sweep shot.
The Friars' outside shooters supported Ocasio, who attracted extra coverage from Troy (15-12). In the third quarter, Dunbar and Jackson Williams fired perimeter shots in off the post for goals on consecutive possessions.
Troy coach Jason Wilson was asked afterward if the Warriors faced the eventual Division 3 champion.
"Possibly," he said. "They looked great – everything I heard they would be."
Last season, Servite lost 13-7 in the semifinals to Dos Pueblos. But with several returning starters from last season, the Friars' expectations are high.
"I think we play a better brand of water polo than anyone (in Division 3)," Servite coach AndyCoffman said before the match Tuesday. "We have the best player (Ocasio). I think we have a really good goalie (Matt Kuehl). If we play right, I'm planning on winning this thing. I think we can."
Servite, a four-time section champion, is seeking its first CIF crown since 2005 when it won Division 2 under legendary coach Jim Sprague, who guided the Friars to three Division 2 titles during an eight-year run.
The Friars play host to Malibu in the second round Thursday.
Also in Division 3:
Segerstrom 14, Westlake 6: Jose Barajas scored six goals and Dominic Hernandez added five to lead the host and Golden West League champion Jaguars (23-5).
Edison 10, Tesoro 9: Junior Dane Howell pumped fake and scored on a late cross-cage lob shot from the wing at Ocean View to lift the Chargers (16-13) into the second round Thursday at Peninsula.