By Rick Assad
An offensive tsunami in the second half and a suffocating defense in two of the four quarters were at the crux of the Burroughs High boys’ water polo team routing host Burbank 20-7 in the Pacific League regular-season finale on Wednesday afternoon in front of a jammed-packed audience.
Seven players scored for the Indians (11-6 and 4-2 in league), but none stood taller than senior utility Vahagan Sahakyan, who chimed in with a match-best nine goals, including seven in the second half when Burroughs outscored Burbank 15-2.
“We just yelled at them a little bit, stuff they were getting complacent on,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said of the second half offensive deluge. We got it together.”
Not too far behind was sophomore utility Xavier Turla, who added six goals for the Indians, who shut out the Bulldogs in the first and fourth quarters.
The Indians led 5-0 heading into the second frame, but the Bulldogs (5-12 and 1-5 in league) dropped in five goals and evened it at 5-5 at the intermission.
Junior utility Ryan Jaramillo’s six-footer with 5:16 left was the first tally of the match before Turla buzzed in one from 10 feet with 2:39 left to make it 2-0.
Turla’s five-footer with 27 seconds left extended the lead to 3-0. When Sahakyan drilled a six-footer with 11 seconds left, the Indians’ cushion was 4-0.
Burroughs slid ahead 5-0 on Sahakyan’s tally and 6:38 left in the second frame. Burbank (2-14 and 1-4 in league) scored the next five goals as junior driver Grigor Gasabian nailed a 10-footer as 6:08 remained.
Sophomore driver Pavel Tantchev scored on a 10-foot laser and 3:50 left and was followed by a 12-footer with 2:24 on the ticker by sophomore driver Jonathan Agazaryan.
Gasabian’s 20-foot tally with 47 seconds left made it 5-4 while Agazaryan 12-footer found the back of the net 28 seconds later that knotted it at 5-5.
“We weren’t responding to their counters,” first-year Burbank coach Mike Lucero said. “We were in the game. They [Burroughs] kept scoring off of every counter.”
How did the Bulldogs rally in the second quarter? “They were moving more and they were running the plays they were supposed to run,” Lucero said.
The Indians came out and scored the first four goals of the third quarter and led 9-5. Sahakyan’s point-blank goal with 6:03 left made it 6-5 and junior utility Alex Lewin’s two-footer with 5:23 showing pushed the advantage to 7-5.
Sahakyan’s point-blank shot with 4:50 remaining saw the Indians dart in front 8-5 and Turla’s three-footer made it a four-goal lead and 3:29 remaining.
The Bulldogs broke the spell when senior driver Kouroush Dolatshani knocked in an eight-footer with 2:42 on the clock as Burbank came within 9-6.
Two goals followed for the Indians as Sahakyan’s 10-footer with 1:36 left made it 10-6 and senior attacker Tobey Ho’s five-footer 27 seconds later extended the lead to 11-6.
Sophomore driver Avo Barsegyan scored from 12 feet for the Bulldogs as 26 seconds remained that made it 11-7, while Sahakyan’s 12-footer five seconds later pushed it to a five-goal lead.
An eight-goal outburst highlighted the fourth quarter as Sahakyan and Turla each scored three goals.
Sahakyan hammered two 10-foot goals including one with 6:18 left that made it 13-7 and one with 5:26 on the clock for a 14-7 lead.
Turla’s six-footer with 4:53 on the timer made it 15-7 and Sahakyan’s eight-footer 17 seconds later expanded the advantage to 16-7.
Turla’s six-footer 39 seconds later extended the Indians’ lead to 10 goals. Senior attacker Chet Conlan’s close-range goal with 2:50 left made it 18-7 and Turla’s point-blank tally with 1:53 on the clock shoved the Indians ahead 19-7.
Junior utility Miguel Martinez capped off the offensive outburst with a six-footer as 41 seconds remained.
Senior Arthur Eldridge and senior David Karagezyan each played exceptional in goal for Burroughs, while Burbank senior net-keeper Sarkis Terpetrossyan was under duress for much of the day.
The next order of business for both schools is the league tournament which begins on Tuesday at Arcadia and concludes on October 31.