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Crescenta Valley's Gabriel Isacson saves, Falcons score CIF title

Crescenta Valley senior goalie turns in remarkable effort at Division V championship match that caps historic season.

April 20, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Crescenta Valley High's Gabriel Isacson is the All-Area Girls' Water Polo Player of the Year.
Crescenta Valley High's Gabriel Isacson is the… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

Roughly five years ago, Gabriel Isacson decided she would give water polo a shot.

Five years later, on a team rife with talent, the unassuming Isacson, perhaps overlooked throughout much of this past season, stepped up and shined on the biggest stage that the Crescenta Valley High girls’ water polo program has ever been upon.

For a program that began under the guise of Peter Kim and Pete Loporchio in the 1996-97 season, Falcons girls’ water polo built a tradition of Pacific League titles and lengthy CIF Southern Section postseason runs. But in the 2013 CIF Southern Section Division V championship this season, Crescenta Valley finally reached the zenith it had been striving for all these years.

And on a team in which everyone played their role to a tee, stepped up at different times and shined, it was Isacson, the Falcons’ senior goalkeeper, who shined brightest in the biggest game in the history of the program.

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“I thought her performance was incredible,” says Falcons teammate Breana Lawton. “I don’t know what she did pregame or what she was thinking, but she was on top of her stuff.”

Against Riverside Poly at Irvine’s William J. Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center, with a season and an elusive CIF plaque at stake, Isacson rose to the occasion, dazzling the opposition, coaches and fans alike with a 16-save performance that was as impressive and dramatic as it was historic in leading the Falcons to a 10-5 title triumph.

Isacson had been steady and splendid all season long, but when it came time to win a championship, she was flat out amazing.

Therein lies the foundation for Isacson being voted the 2013 All-Area Girls’ Water Polo Player of the Year by the sports editors and writers of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press, La Cañada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun.

“She definitely grabbed everyone’s attention,” says Falcons first-year Coach Brent Danna, an El Toro High graduate. “My coach from El Toro came up to me after the game and said, ‘You owe your goalie a steak dinner.’”

What Isacson got was the recognition as the All-CIF Southern Section Division V Player of the Year.

“She was a unanimous selection for All-CIF Player of the Year,” Danna says.

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