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Pooling their talents for success

CV, Glendale, Hoover have high hopes for league and CIF glory, while Prep is optimistic about what future holds.

September 08, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

GLENDALE — There's sure to be a heated battle for supremacy in Pacific League boys' water polo, with multiple-time defending champion Crescenta Valley High looking as strong as ever and Glendale and Hoover hoping to further close the gap with the dynastic Falcons after serving notice with strong campaigns last year.

And, once the dust settles after the league rumble, the same teams may very well find themselves among the last few standing when its time to crown a champion in CIF Southern Section Division V.

Going into the upcoming season, Crescenta Valley is ranked No. 1 in the division, with the Nitros ranked third and the Tornadoes holding the No. 10 ranking after the two former squads reached the semifinals and the latter advanced to the quarterfinals last season while in Division VI.

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Loaded with seniors and supercharged with speed from its Division II runner-up swimming team, Crescenta Valley has a well-rounded team led by seniors Rane Colvin, an All-CIF goalkeeper and the reigning Pacific League Most Valuable Player, and Alan Dearman, an All-CIF hole/set. The Falcons are looking to win their second CIF title in three years after falling to Rio Mesa in the semis last season.

"I think it would be fair to say this is the fastest team in the division because all of them are just top, top-level swimmers," said Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju, who also counts swimming standouts Josh Chi, Andrew De Jong and transfer Louis Wojciechowski among his weapons. "Alan is also one of the best hole/sets in the division, Rane is arguably one of the best, if not the best, goalies in the division, so we've got all the right pieces, we just need to put it together."

After battling the Falcons to an overtime loss in the championship game of the Pacific League tournament last season, the Nitros also saw their bid to reach the CIF finals fall short in overtime against eventual champion Webb.

And, while most of that team is back, led by All-CIF hole/set Gor Asryan, second-year Coach Forest Holbrook has some younger players entering the fold to push his starters and provide more depth.

"We have a number of sophomores who came up who are going to be challenging last year's starters for starting positions," Holbrook said. "Our team is not the same team as last year. We've got two or three new players who came in that I can see challenging some of our older players for their starting spots."

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