By Rick Assad
When it comes to boys’ water polo, there has been a paradigm shift from Burroughs High to rival Burbank.
In a Pacific League match on Wednesday afternoon, the visiting Bulldogs jumped out early and never trailed against the Bears and earned a 13-7 victory behind a game-best six goals from Johnny Agazaryan, who knocked in three tallies in the first quarter as Burbank moved ahead 5-1.
Burbank, which edged Burroughs 16-15 in a tournament on September 11 and now owns a 14-match winning streak, dashed in front 8-3 at the intermission.
The Bulldogs (17-2 and 6-0 in league) were limited to one goal in the third frame, but exploded for four in the fourth period.
Always a key factor this season for Burbank is its defense and it was on full display against arch-rival Burroughs.
“I loved our defense, especially in the first quarter,” Burbank coach David Arakelyan said. “We were able to feed off our good defense and score a couple of huge early goals.”
The last line of defense for the Bulldogs is goalie Narek Galamdaryan, who was outstanding.
“We had some big performances from Johnny and Narek. They both played exceptionally,” said Arakelyan, who starred at Burroughs of his two leaders.
The scoring began when Robert Kharazyan tossed in a three-foot backhander with 6:43 left for the Bulldogs, who outshot the Bears 27-25 overall and 14-11 across the first half.
Agazaryan followed with a 12-footer with 5:57 on the clock for a 2-0 edge and Agazaryan’s 10-footer with 4:07 on the timer made it 3-0.
Kharazyan’s eight-foot toss with 3:38 left in the frame extended Burbank’s cushion to 4-0.
When Agazaryan knocked down a five-footer with 2:04 remaining, the Bulldogs’ lead swelled to 5-1.
“I think that helped us tremendously and we were able to maintain a lead throughout the whole game,” Arakelyan said of the early offensive outburst.
The Bears (11-14 and 1-5 in league) did get on the scoreboard with 3:04 left on a six-footer from Logan Turla that sliced the lead to 4-1.
Burbank, which outscored Burroughs 3-2 in the second quarter, then led 6-1 on Kharazyan’s nine-footer with 5:41 left.
Agazaryan’s six-foot attempt thirty-six seconds later saw the Bulldogs slide ahead 7-1.
With 3:24 left in the frame, an eight-foot tally from Andranik Bilbulyan extended the margin to 8-2.
A goal from nine feet by the Bears’ Justin Cloutier with 3:46 left trimmed the cushion to 7-2 and Eddie Leverett’s 12-footer with 1:43 remaining made it 8-3.
Each team scored a goal in the third as Xavier Turla knocked in a 12-footer with 5:38 left for the Bears that cut the lead the half at 8-4, but Agazaryan’s six-footer with 3:07 on the clock stretched the Bulldogs’ lead to 9-4.
Arakelyan praised Burroughs for not throwing in the towel and playing hard until the end.
“Credit to Burroughs for fighting,” he said. “Now this is a huge confidence boost going into next week. We’re very excited.”
The fourth period was a barrage of goals with Burbank knocking in four and Burroughs getting three.
Danny Agazaryan’s eight-footer for the Bulldogs with 4:31 remaining made it 10-5.
Agazaryan’s 15-footer with 3:52 showing stretched Burbank’s margin to 11-5.
Bilbulyan’s 10-footer with 2:42 on the ticker doubled the lead to 12-6 and Zack Gezalyan’s five-foot bullet with 1:54 left made it 13-6.
A five-footer from Xavier Turla with 6:48 on the clock trimmed the deficit to 9-5 and Leverett’s six-foot shot with 3:07 left made it 11-6.
Logan Turla’s 10-footer provided the game’s last goal and it came with 1:13 left and sliced the Bulldogs’ lead to six goals.