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Crescenta Valley water polo edged out of playoffs by rival Pasadena Poly

Water polo: Falcons lose nailbiter to Panthers, 8-7, in CIF quarterfinals.

November 17, 2013|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Crescenta Valley High's George Vine IV and the Falcons fell in the CIF Southern Section Division V quarterfinals on Saturday. (Mike Mullen)
Crescenta Valley High's George Vine IV and the Falcons… (Mike Mullen )

PASADENA — There's not much that separates the Crescenta Valley High boys' water polo team and rival Pasadena Poly.

That was never more evident than in Saturday morning's CIF Southern Section Division V quarterfinal matchup at Pasadena Poly.

Having split two previous meetings in the regular season, the rubber match saw the teams deadlocked at the conclusion of each of the first three quarters.

The difference came in the fourth and final stanza, as a goal by Pasadena Poly's Turner Romey with more than three minutes to play stood as the game-winner, with the third-seeded Falcons unable to cash in any of their final attempts in falling to the Panthers, 8-7.

"It was a great chess match in strategy and execution of strategy," said Falcons Coach Jan Sakonju, whose team ended the year at 16-10. "I think mentally [the Falcons] were in the right spot, I think they executed the game plan, it was just the final part of putting it in."

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For the match, Crescenta Valley converted seven of 40 shots, while Poly answered with an eight-for-24 performance.

"I think that's what it came down to was who made more mistakes and, unfortunately, that was us," said Crescenta Valley's Griffin Harting, who tied for the team lead of two goals with Ryan Moguel. "[Our] defense was good; there were just a few lapses that we practiced not to make. On offense, there were some rushed shots.

"And sometimes, the shots just didn't fall."

Pasadena Poly (22-5), which won the Prep League and is currently defending its Division V title, defeated the Falcons, 8-5, in a nonleague match before Crescenta Valley claimed a 9-1 win in the Oxnard Tournament. In its loss, the Falcons were without Moguel, while the Panthers did not have All-CIF standout Spencer Rogers in their loss. This time around, the rivals were at full strength and put on a show for the jam-packed audience.

"It's a great rivalry that we have; it's a shame one of the teams had to lose," said Panthers Coach Ryan Katsuyama. "We gave the crowd a good game."

Rogers had two goals, but played a huge role in the game, drawing multiple defenders each time he touched the ball.

"You can see how CV defended him, they were dropping on him, which gave us shots from the outside," Katsuyama said. "As the game went on, we obviously capitalized."

In particular, Dennis Grover capitalized, as he led the Panthers with three goals, including two from the perimeter in the fourth stanza.

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