Young, but experienced is the best way to describe the Burroughs and Burbank High boys’ water polo teams as they enter the 2016 season.
Both teams figure to face tough competition in the Pacific League as Crescenta Valley and Hoover are deep.
Burroughs coach Jacob Cook has reason to be optimistic. Last season the Indians went 13-12 overall. His two leading scorers from a year ago return from a team that finished third in the Pacific League and lost 14-12 to Santa Monica in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs. Burroughs defeated Atascadero in a wild-card playoff match.
Junior Marko Vucetich scored 73 goals as a sophomore and was a first-team All-Pacific League pick. He also spent the summer training in Serbia, the nation that won the gold medal in water polo in the recent Olympics.
Davo Arakelyan, a second-team all-league pick last season, is also a junior.
“We have 18 guys and we didn’t lose any of our major talent (from last season),” Cook said. “We’re looking forward to a good year. We’re trying to go as far as we can in CIF. Our expectations are high.
Senior Jerry Solano, a set defender, is the team captain.
“He shows a lot of leadership skills,” Cook said. “He keeps the team focused.”
Sophomore Eric Aperian, a left-hander, has shown lots of promise.
Junior David Jimenez figures to be the starting goalie.
Senior LJ Burns is expected to be another key player for Burroughs.
Filling out the rest of the Burroughs roster are seniors Jeremy Acosta, Nathan Armstrong, Cameron Flosi, Gevo Hagopian and Aram Nordanyan. The remaining juniors on the team consist of JJ Ambartsum, Nathan Anicich, Nicholas D’Agostaro, Manny Esparza, Brenner Goldsen, Scott Sauve, Max Zekowski. Sophomores Andre Abranyan and Simon Kharazyan round out the team.
The Bulldogs were 4-13 overall, 2-5 in league last season.
Five players return from last season.
One of those is senior goalie Peter Youssef.
Burbank also returns senior Alex Airapetyan, juniors Brandon Wilson, Daniel Azarian and Andrew Senane.
New to the team are seniors Gevork Mailyan and Misak Voskanyan, junior Alex Banjarjyan and sophomores Varuzhan Bibulyan, Artush Gasparyan and George Sarkissov.
“I can already see the change in this year’s team compared to last year,” second-year coach Allyson Young said. “These boys are working together and helping each other out in the pool. It’s great to see that the boys are there for each other in the water. This is a very young team. We are building the team up to be able to accomplish anything that they want to in the sport. Hopefully these boys continue to work together and this season can go as planned.”