Roger Wilson Staff Photographer

Crescenta Valley girls' water polo will begin its title defense on Wednesday. (Roger Wilson Staff Photographer / February 17, 2014)

Defense of its first-ever CIF championship will officially begin Wednesday for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ water polo team.

The Falcons, who won the CIF Southern Section Division V title last season, will begin their quest to repeat when they host a wild-card entrant on Wednesday, while Glendale, which finished runner-up to Crescenta Valley in the Pacific League, will face familiar foe Redlands East Valley.

Crescenta Valley (22-6) dominated the Pacific League, finishing with a perfect 8-0 record and enters the playoffs as the No. 3 seed. On Tuesday, in wild-card action, Downey (14-10), the San Gabriel Valley League’s third-place finisher, will host Morro Bay, the third-place team in the Los Padres League, with the winner heading to play Crescenta Valley.

“We definitely go in having a bulls-eye because we are the defending champion,” said Crescenta valley Coach Brent Danna, who is the reigning All-All-area Girls’ Water Polo Coach of the Year. “I am confident in our ability to be able to play well against anybody in our division.

“We are hungry and we want to defend the title. We know it’s going to be a difficult challenge, but we can do it if we play opportunistic water polo and execute defensively and pass well.”

If Crescenta Valley advances past Wednesday it would play in the quarterfinals Saturday against Temescal Canyon, the Sunbelt League champ, or Citrus Valley, the second-place finisher in the Inland Valley League.

For Glendale (15-7) to get to the quarterfinal round on Saturday, it first must defeat Redland East Valley, the same team that defeated the Nitros in the first round last season. Redlands East Valley sports a 21-8 record and won the Citrus Belt League with a 10-0 record.

The Nitros would face fourth-seeded Cerritos, the San Gabriel Valley League’s No. 2 team, or Elsinore, the Sunbelt League’s second-place squad, in the quarters.

All matches are scheduled for 5 p.m. starts unless a time change is agreed upon.