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CV takes down top contender

Water Polo: Falcons prove they're still No. 1 in Pacific League with resounding 16-4 win over Burroughs.

January 26, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Crescenta Valley's Shannon Hovanesian takes a shot under pressure on Thursday.
Crescenta Valley's Shannon Hovanesian takes a… (Raul Roa, Glendale…)

BURBANK — Leading into the start of Pacific League play, Crescenta Valley High's girls' water polo team was the prohibitive favorite to defend its league crown with many prognosticating Glendale or Pasadena as the top challenger.

Enter Burroughs, as the upstart Indians surprised many as they set up Thursday afternoon's showdown against the Falcons, which both teams entered undefeated in league.

But as the match came to an anticlimactic finish, the Falcons made an emphatic statement that nobody's yet to challenge them for league supremacy after throttling the host Indians, 16-4.

"I think that was one of our better defensive efforts," said Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio, whose team has all but locked up a third straight league title, needing only a first-round win in the league tournament on Feb. 7 at Burbank High and remains undefeated at 21-0, 6-0 in league. "We made sure ... they understood the significance of this game and what was at stake."

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And it took no time for the Falcons to flex their might, jumping out to a 5-0 lead against the shellshocked Indians at the first quarter's end that ballooned to 8-0 before Burroughs' Sam Buliavac scored on a five-meter shot with 2:33 left in the opening half.

"Honestly, everything happened cause we were all very nervous," said Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia, whose team fell to 17-3, 4-1 in league. "We all knew how big this game was, I think that's what got into us.

"We knew what we had to do. We just didn't produce."

It was quite the opposite for the Falcons, who are ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division V.

"Burroughs is a pretty good team. We've been pumped the whole week, we've been practicing for Burroughs the whole week," said Falcons senior Sabrina Hatzer, who had match-highs of seven goals and six steals, along with a pair of assists. "We had so much intensity this game."

Junior Breanna Lawton also had a stellar day for the Falcons with five goals and two assists, while sophomore Elissa Arnold had a pair of goals and a pair of assists. But the match was, for all intents and purposes, decided in the early going and it came, in characteristic fashion for the Falcons, with a balanced attack.

Arnold, Stefanie Loporchio, Shannon Hovanesian, Lawton and Hatzer scored in the first quarter, while the Falcons defense was stifling, recording steals on each of Burroughs' first four possessions and recording seven steals in the stanza overall with Hatzer notching three and Hovanesian two.

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