Two of those meetings were in the CIF-Southern Section Division III championship game in Long Beach. No. 1 Whittier won 11-10 in overtime in 2005, and No. 2 Ayala took last year’s title, 10-9. They’ve played twice this season, with Whittier taking a comfortable victory in the season opener and winning 9-6 during the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions. To say there’s some history between Whittier and Ayala high schools in girls water polo would be an understatement. The teams have played each other five times the past three seasons. They’ll meet again tonight for the Division III championship at Belmont Olympic Pool in Long Beach. “We’re playing them three years in a row for the championship, so we’re getting used to each other,” Whittier assistant coach Lansing Young said Sunday night. As for the superstition attached to attempting to defeat the same team three times in one season, Young said, “Of course we think about it. But I’d rather be trying to win three in a row than trying to win just the last of three.” A problem for the Cardinals could be Ayala goalkeeper Caitlin Dement, whose height and long reach can be trouble for teams that rely on strong counter-attacking and sometimes have problems with accuracy. Much of the Cardinals’ scoring comes from transition, but will be of little use if they can’t finish against Dement’s defense. “She’s very good, she covers a lot of area,” Young said. “She knows what she’s doing, and she knows where to go.” Young and head coach Chris Schneider, however, agree in philosophy. “Our concern is not just Dement, it’s the whole team,” Young said. “They’re very good. But for us, it’s mostly not what Ayala does, but rather what we do. “It should be a good game, a tight game. It will probably come down to which team wants it the most and shows it.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3046 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!