Burroughs makes Falcons fight for title

Girls' water polo: Indians make strong push to grab piece of league title, but CV comes from behind in fourth quarter to clinch outright championship.

February 09, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk,
(Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

BURBANK — If the members of the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team expected the Pacific League tournament championship game on Thursday to be another easy win over Burroughs, they were dead wrong.

That much was evident by the end of the first quarter, which Burroughs dominated, and by the time the fourth quarter rolled around with Crescenta Valley still trailing by a goal, the Falcons were very much in a fight to keep the Indians' hands off of their league title.

"Certainly, being in that position, they came out very inspired to play," Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio said.

Crescenta Valley dominated Burroughs and won by 12 goals in the teams' first meeting on Jan. 26, but this time didn't take its first lead in the match until Sabrina Hatzer's steal and breakaway score with 2:45 left in the fourth. It was a lead that would last, though, as the Falcons overcame a determined Burroughs squad to win, 8-6, and finish the season undefeated and league champions outright for the third year in row.


"Coach always tells us that we have to go somewhere deep down and just dig through it and it was a team effort," said Falcons attacker Katie Benson, whose three goals, two coming in the fourth quarter, led the team. "You don't know what you're doing while you're doing it, but you just do it."

Crescenta Valley (29-0, 8-0 in league) had battled back to pull even for the first time with 10 seconds left in the third quarter, 3-3, on a Benson shot that was partially field blocked, deflecting up and over Burroughs goalkeeper Ahsha Earwood (11 saves). But Savannah Simmons answered right back for Burroughs (19-4, 6-2) with a cannon shot from nearly all the way across the pool that caught the Falcons off-guard and sent the Indians to the fourth quarter still leading.

Nayiri Kechichian opened scoring in the fourth quarter, tying the game for Crescenta Valley on a shot from the left side on a counter-attack, but Sam Buliavac, who led all scorers with four goals, dropped a rainbow shot over Gabriel Isacson into the left corner of the cage from deep on the perimeter to give the Indians a 5-4 lead again with 4:42 to play.

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