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Falcons look to deliver as tournament favorites

Water polo: Four area girls teams look to build momentum heading into CIF in Pacific League tournament.

February 04, 2012|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

The clear favorite to win the Pacific League girls' water polo tournament for the third year in a row is Crescenta Valley High.

The Falcons aren't getting ahead of themselves, though, as the remaining top four teams in league — Burroughs, Pasadena and Glendale (in that order) — still hold title hopes.

Regular-season wins count for a point in the final league standings, but a first-place finish in the tournament, which opens Tuesday at Burbank High, is worth seven points. Second, third and fourth-place finishes yield six, five and four points, respectively.

All season long CV Coach Pete Loporchio has been doing what he can to make sure his squad focuses on themselves, not the opposition, and it's no different leading into the tournament.

"Whenever the girls ask, 'How good is this team?' I usually respond with 'How good are we?' That's what we need to concern ourselves with and that's been our concern," said Loporchio, whose team is tied for third place in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll with Redlands East Valley. "We focus on what we can and can't do and rely on that regardless of who we play."

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Loporchio threw his team a curveball in practice on Wednesday and had his reserves wear fins while competing against the starters.

"We worked on transition defense where we have to keep up with [the reserves] while they have fins on," Loporchio said. "It definitely challenges them. We throw different things at them to keep them challenged and keep them focused."

The No. 1-seeded Falcons (27-0, 6-0 in league) open up tournament play against fourth-seeded Glendale (11-8, 3-3) at 5:30 p.m. CV defeated the Nitros, 15-7, last time they met Jan. 19.

"CV is a fantastic team, they've been winning all year long," Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said. "It's going to take the game of our season to beat them, but with this group, it's not an automatic win for CV. We played a pretty good game against them last week and I think we can still play better."

The Falcons' solid defense led by Breanna Lawton, the goal tending of Gabriel Isacson and a balanced offense figure to give Glendale all it can handle again.

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