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Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo ready to defend its title

Water Polo: Crescenta Valley High, Flintridge Prep, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Glendale and Hoover open the 2013-14 season with different goals.

November 29, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • Sophomore Audrey Taylor is one of a few key returners for Crescenta Valley, as the Falcons prepare to defend their Pacific and CIF-SS Division V championship. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Sophomore Audrey Taylor is one of a few key returners for…

LA CRESCENTA — From championship aspirations to the pursuit of building up a program, the goals and desires of the five local girls’ water polo teams beginning the season anew span the gamut for Crescenta Valley High, Flintridge Prep, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Glendale and Hoover.

The view from the penthouse was a memorable one for Crescenta Valley and then first-year coach Brent Danna, who helped guide his team to a CIF Southern Section Division V championship, the first such title in school history.

“We had a special group of girls last year who were ready to get us over the hump,” Danna said. “While we have some returners, this won’t be the same squad as last year.”

The Falcons (33-2) graduated the All-Area Player of the Year in senior goalie Gabriel Isacson, who tallied 147 saves during the season, including 16 in the Falcons’ 10-5 win over Riverside Poly in the title game, along with four other seniors.

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One of the unexpected losses, however, was that of utility player Shannon Hovanesian, who led the Falcons in every major statistic with 81 goals, 106 steals and 90 assists. The Cal State Northridge-bound senior informed Danna that she would not be returning this season for personal reasons.

“That’s a big loss obviously, but that doesn’t change what our goals are, which are to win league and repeat,” Danna said. “What we did last year was special, but we have a chance to do something even more special in winning back to back.”

The Falcons have six returners from last year, including All-Area first-team senior two-meter attacker Elissa Arnold (80 goals, 72 steals and 38 assists), All-Area first-team senior two-meter defender Ashley Taylor (65 goals, 50 steals and 30 assists) and sophomore driver Audrey Nelson.

Perhaps two of the more underrated returners back are junior Any Aghakianian and senior Lynley Fernandez, who turned in critical postseason minutes last year.

“If you look at last year and our record, we were blowing out teams and I don’t think that’s going to happen as much this year,” Danna said. “In fact, I think you’re going to have teams that remembered last year and are going to give us their best.

“I think that’s a good thing, though, people treating us like the Yankees or Lakers. That just shows how strong this program is.”

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