For as much as Hoover (4-8) is attempting to become a more well-rounded team, reigning All-Area Boys' Water Polo Player of the Year Hakop Kaplanyan still took over the match — at least when he was in the pool, anyhow.
The dynamic junior shined in all facets, scoring a match-high seven goals on eight shots, nabbing five steals and garnering two assists.
"He's really getting it," said Oganesyan of Kaplanyan playing within the new system. "He's adapting very well.
"I'm very proud of him, I've seen his game change from night to day. We challenged him to be a leader. He's done it and the ball is in the court of the other guys now."
After notching a CIF record 229 goals last season, Kaplanyan's numbers have declined, but he said he's ready to do whatever his coach wants and is best for his team.
"We had to do what coach wants and play more of a team game, that's no problem for me," Kaplanyan said. "I gotta do what my coach wants me to do."
Hoover's Todd Bazik batted a steal to Kaplanyan, who broke away for the first score of the match with :15 to go in the first quarter. A score by Arthur Soghomonyan, who had three on the day, and another Kaplanyan score saw the Tornadoes push out to a 3-0 lead holding Arcadia scoreless until it nabbed a man-advantage tally with only seven seconds remaining in the first stanza.
For the game, three of Arcadia's goals came on its 13 man-advantage opportunities, another came on a five-meter shot and six came with Kaplanyan on the bench. Overall, a smothering and physical Hoover defense kept the Apaches in check.
After three consecutive scores by Kaplanyan to start the second period, Oganesyan took his star player out and Arcadia cut the match to 6-3. Kaplanyan was then reinserted and assisted on another Soghomonyan goal and assisted one more time on an Arin Azarian score at the first-half buzzer.