Burbank Boys Water Polo Knocks Off Burroughs 19-8

Senior Zack Gezalyan scored a match-best seven goals and sophomore Danny Agazaryan added six tallies in a Bulldogs victory over the Bears.

The Bulldogs started fast and cruised to a 19-8 win over the host Bears. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

By Rick Assad

After reaching the CIF Southern Section Division VI title game last season, there was no sophomore jinx for the Burbank High boys’ water polo team which faced host Burroughs on Wednesday afternoon in a Pacific League showdown.

Behind senior Zack Gezalyan’s match-best seven goals and six tallies by sophomore Danny Agazaryan, the Bulldogs collected another win this season, 19-8 over the Bears.

Jumping ahead 5-1 through the first period, Burbank seized command 12-4 at the half.

The Bulldogs (24-2 and 7-0 in league) added five goals in the third period while limiting the Bears (9-13 and 3-4 in league) to three points and led 17-7.

Burbank, which had 32 shots on goal, added two points in the fourth quarter and Burroughs, which let loose 38 attempts, knocked in a solo goal.

Burroughs played better in the second half versus Burbank. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

“We have a few weapons all over the perimeter,” Burbank coach David Arakelyan said. “We communicate and play team water polo. That’s what makes our team really good.”

Burbank’s defense was superb as it stifled Burroughs for much of the day.

“I really was impressed with our ability to shut them down on the defensive end and put away the many counter-attack goals that we did,” Arakelyan said. “Good communication on defense leads to good offense.”

Senior Harrison Zekowski paced the Bears with four points.

“We came out and made some mistakes early, but Burbank’s a great team this year. We have a young team. We have a lot of young guys. Most of our team are sophomores,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said of his squad. “It’s a building year. We just knew that coming into the game to use it as a learning opportunity. Overall, our guys play hard every game no matter what the score is.”

Each team located the net to begin the first period as sophomore Eric Avetisyan found the goal with 5:27 left on a five-footer to make it 1-0, but Zekowski countered and evened it at 1-1 with an eight-footer as 4:40 remained.

The Bulldogs then scored the next four points as Gezalyan nailed two, including one from six feet twenty-five seconds later to make it 2-1 and with 2:56 left on an eight-footer for a 4-1 edge.

Junior Alex Kobalyan’s six-footer with 3:33 on the clock made it 3-1 and Agazaryan’s 10-foot bullet with 1:17 left extended the lead to 5-1.

Burroughs sliced the lead to 5-2 on a five-foot goal from sophomore Logan Turla with 5:12 left in the second period, but Burbank scored three of the next four points and led 8-3 with 3:20 left.

Gezalyan’s seven-footer with 4:52 left extended the lead to 6-2, but sophomore Ian Duffield’s five-foot tally with 4:05 on the ticker trimmed the lead in half to 6-3.

Agazaryan’s point-blank shot with 3:52 left made it 7-3 and junior Andranik Bilbulyan’s five-footer pushed the advantage to 8-3 as the Bears called time out.

The Bulldogs pulled ahead 12-4 at the intermission against the Bears in a Pacific League match. (Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

Burbank proceeded to outscore Burroughs 4-1 as junior Michael Misakyan’s seven-footer with 2:23 on the clock made it 9-3 and Agazaryan’s five-foot toss widened the advantage to 10-3 with 1:47 left.

Gezalyan scored back-to-back goals with 1:26 left on a six-footer for a 11-3 lead and with 56 seconds remaining on a seven-footer that pushed the cushion to 12-3.

Zekowski’s five-footer with 42 seconds left sliced the lead to 12-4 at the half.

The Bulldogs were playing a bit short-handed, but it didn’t seem to matter too much.

“We had a few players missing due to illness, but I was very happy with how all our other guys stepped up and filled their roles,” Arakelyan said.

Once again, the Bears scored first as Zekowski’s short toss and 6:42 left in the third quarter shaved the lead to 12-5.

The Bulldogs found the back of the net twice as Gezalyan scored from 10 feet seventeen seconds later for a 13-5 lead and Agazaryan’s five-footer with 4:46 left pushed the cushion to a nine-point lead.

Duffield’s nine-foot tally with 3:22 remaining sliced the advantage to 14-6.

The Bulldogs capped the third period by outscoring the Bears 3-1 that included Gezalyan’s nine-foot laser with 3:07 left on the ticker for a 15-6 edge and Agazaryan’s five-footer with 2:42 remaining for a 10-point lead.

Sophomore Harrison Siegel’s five-footer for the Bears with 43 seconds on the clock made it 16-7 before Agazaryan’s 12-footer gave the Bulldogs a 17-7 lead.

In the fourth frame Burbank scored two goals and Burroughs added one as Zekowski had a tally with 5:13 on a five-footer that sliced the margin to 17-8.

The Bulldogs ended the quarter with a five-footer from Misakyan with 4:06 left for an 18-8 lead and Bilbulyan’s seven-footer with 1:56 on the scoreboard for a 19-8 advantage.