Poly calls a halt to Hoover

Water polo: Tornadoes boys fall, 14-8, to Pasadena Poly in CIF first round.

November 11, 2010|By Grant Gordon,

PASADENA — For much of the season, Hoover High boys' water polo Coach Ara Oganesyan's approach has been to emphasize team play over relying on the contributions of one player — even when that one player is standout Hakop Kaplanyan.

Arguably, Hoover had one of its best performances as a team on Wednesday afternoon, but with Kaplanyan being blanketed and facing the formidable challenge of Pasadena Poly, it simply wasn't enough, as the Tornadoes succumbed to the host Panthers, 14-8, in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs, of which Poly is the fourth seed.

"It's been happening all season," said Oganesyan of his Kaplanyan garnering double-teams. "To be successful, it takes a full team effort. The person not double-teamed has to understand he's not being double-teamed and the guy who is being double-teamed has to understand he is being double-teamed."


Kaplanyan was held to just one goal in the match. Perhaps fittingly, it was the final goal scored in the season for Hoover (16-16).

Pasadena Poly Coach Ryan Katsuyama didn't hesitate in admitting his team's defensive game plan was a simple one.

"Stop Hakop," said Katsuyama, whose team is now 20-3. "And we obviously did an outstanding job on him, holding him to one goal."

Kaplanyan, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year who scored a CIF-record 229 goals a season ago, drew the double-team whether he had the ball or not, which was a far cry from a day earlier, as Hoover defeated Cathedral City, 16-12, in a wild-card match on the strength of 15 Kaplanyan goals.

"He's such a dangerous player with or without the ball," Katsuyama said. "In a way, [double-teaming him is] the sign of ultimate respect."

Kaplanyan was visibly frustrated throughout the match, as an often-physical double-team rarely drew any calls and rarely relinquished a quality scoring chance.

"You can't create adversity for the team," Oganesyan said. "There is no room for frustration in CIF. You do what you have to do to win."

It was Davit Davtyan who led Hoover with three goals, while Poly's Henry Pray had a match-high seven.

In the early going, Poly took a quick 2-0 lead before the Tornadoes battled back to tie the match when Kaplanyan, who had five steals, assisted on a pair of Todd Bazik scores as the first period ended at 2-2.

"Todd Bazik played out of his mind," Oganesyan said. "He's going at them with all he has."

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