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Falcons win quarter classic

Hovanesian scores 2:03 into sudden death, as CV takes quarterfinal, 14-13.

February 18, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

HACIENDA HEIGHTS — After all the instances in which it seemed the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team had victory in its grasp only to see it slip away, it appeared that host Los Altos was the one that had finally closed a firm grip upon triumph.

But it was the shot clock that sounded rather than the final horn when Conqueror Kimberly Conde put a shot past Crescenta Valley goalie Gabriel Isacson.

Seconds later, amid the chaos and bedlam of a celebratory and confused home crowd, Falcons sophomore Shannon Hovanesian quickly drew an ejection in front of the Los Altos goal and passed back to teammate Nayiri Kechichian, who immediately fed it back to Hovanesian. And at the 57-second mark of sudden death in a CIF Southern Section Division V girls' water polo quarterfinal classic, Hovanesian propelled the Falcons into the semifinals, scoring the game-winner in a 14-13 conquest over the Conquerors.

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"My heart skipped for a little bit," said Hovanesian after Conde's near-score, "and then I saw the refs. I just lit up and I was excited and I was able to go again.

"To do that, it's hundreds of hours of practices. So much chemistry in our team was able to drive us to this position we're in now."

With the dramatic victory, the third-seeded Falcons improved to 31-0 on the season en route to facing defending champion Temescal Canyon — which ousted CV in last year's semifinal — in Wednesday's semifinal at 6 p.m. at Mount San Antonio College, while building a winning streak that is the third longest in CIF Southern Section history behind Bell Gardens (85 wins) and Foothill (49), according to cifss.org.

Three of those wins have come at the expense of Los Altos (17-13), which lost to the Falcons twice during the regular season, including another one-goal defeat. But one would be hard-pressed to ask for a more dramatic contest than Saturday's roller-coaster ride.

"It's hard to beat a team three times," said CV's Sabrina Hatzer, who had four goals and five steals. "We had to think about what we needed to do, stay strong, push through."

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