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The same semifinal story

Crescenta Valley loses to Temescal Canyon for a second straight season in CIF semifinals.

February 22, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
(Libby Cline Special…)

WALNUT — In its bid to avenge a previous playoff defeat and advance to the CIF Southern Section Division V finals, the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team gave no ground to Temescal Canyon for most of three quarters, setting the tempo and at times dominating the match with its halfcourt defense.

Yet, after holding their own in a defensive duel altogether devoid of much scoring, the Falcons found themselves with a hill to climb against the Titans late in the game for the second time in as many consecutive playoff runs.

Just as they did once before, the third-seeded Falcons were up to the task of rallying back, but once again saw their season ended by No. 2 seed Temescal Canyon, which held on for a 9-7 semifinal win Wednesday night at Mount San Antonio College.

The loss was the Falcons' first of the season, as the team wraps up the campaign with a stellar 31-1 record one year after suffering a 10-9 loss to the Titans in the semis.

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"We just didn't pull through at the times we needed to earlier than the fourth quarter," said Falcons utility Breanna Lawton, who had six steals in the game and a goal during the Falcons' late rally. "It's harder to play catch-up. That's what we were trying to do and it just didn't work."

After closing the third quarter on a 3-0 run over the final 2:31, the Titans took their largest lead of the game, 7-3, on a Dannielle Wenzel goal with 6:36 to play in the game.

Relative to the overall amount of scoring previous — only four total goals were tallied between both teams in the opening half — the four-goal deficit seemed to feel like more, but not to the Falcons.

"I think after the La Serna game when we were down by two with 30 seconds left, we were like, OK it may be [a] big [deficit], but we need to push it," CV attacker Stefanie Loporchio said in reference to the Falcons' improbable come-from-behind 13-12 overtime win over the fifth-ranked team in Division 3 on Feb. 2. "I think we believed in ourselves. We just couldn't put anything away."

Sabrina Hatzer, who led Crescenta Valley with three goals, scored on an assist from Shannon Hovanesian amid a six-on-five advantage to pull the Falcons back to within 7-4 with 5:15 left and Loporchio converted on a 10-foot hook shot on a counter after a Titans offensive-foul turnover a minute and a half later to cut the lead back to two.

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