BURBANK — Perhaps thanks in part to the element of surprise, or maybe just some lingering apprehension on the part of a Hoover High boys' water polo team favored to beat Crescenta Valley for the first time anyone could remember, the Falcons carried an upset bid into the second half when the teams first met in Pacific League play on Oct. 11.
Fast forward to the prelims of the league championship tournament at Burbank High on Tuesday and it was a different story, one of a different Tornadoes team that wouldn't be forced to pull out a second-half comeback this time. In fact, the No. 2-seed Tornadoes never trailed in their 15-11 victory, which sets up a rematch with archrival Glendale, the No. 1 seed, in the title game on Thursday.
"We were a little bit more focused," first-year Hoover Coach Kevin Witt said when comparing Tuesday's win to the Tornadoes' 18-12 comeback win in the previous meeting. "I think this time of year our guys are a little bit more focused on every game.