By Dick Dornan
MyBurbank Sports Editor
For first-year coach Michael Singhanate and the Burroughs girls’ water polo team, it was the victory they so desperately needed. Playing on the road at the home of their rivals, the Indians came together and played their best match of the season.
Behind five goals from senior utility captain Kailee Groveman, Burroughs defeated Burbank, 11-5, on Thursday to win its first league contest of the year. The Indians improved to 6-12 overall and 1-2 in league while Burbank fell to 4-7 and 1-2.
“The victory means a lot to all of us here at Burroughs,” Singhanate said. “We had a tournament over the weekend, and the only thing on our mind was everything we do, we do in preparation for Burbank. We knew they had some strong shooters and some good plays, so we knew to be aware at all times. But mentally we’ve been preparing since we had played them in their tournament and lost in overtime.”
Back on December 14, the Bulldogs knocked off the Indians, 5-4, in overtime as part of the Burbank Tournament. This time Burroughs would not be denied.
“We’ve been practicing a number of different plays, types of shooting, and we’re still currently working on other individual skills, but everything we’ve been working on we applied this game,” said Singhanate. “It definitely worked out for the best.”
Burroughs used a 6-0 spurt in the third quarter to pull away and get the victory. Singhanate sensed a victory as the game went on. The Indians were playing with more passion and energy than in previous matches.
“After each quarter, the fire grew inside all our girls and they put it to good use,” he said. “We definitely are going to do our best to bring that same intensity and energy into the rest of our season, and hopefully into CIF.”
Junior Sophia Piedrahita scored an additional three goals while senior utility Cheyenne Morrison scored two goals and junior Aliya Ehde scored one. Sophomore goalie Kate Wilke had a total of 12 saves and two steals.
Burbank was led by Stella Aghakian who scored three goals. Burroughs aggressive and pressure defense and solid goalie play from Wilke prevented the Bulldogs from mounting any kind of consistent offensive attack.
“This group of girls has seen tremendous improvement in all aspects of the game from day one. We had a rough start to our season, but these girls have been able to consistently look forward to their next challenge,” Singhanate said. “They’ve held their heads high, win or loss, but the energy and intensity that I saw in this game was one like no other. They wanted to win, and they didn’t let anything stop them. I couldn’t be any more proud or happier for this team.”