By Rick Assad
Riding a ferocious defensive tidal wave, the Burbank High boys’ water polo team blanked powerful Redondo Union in the first and third quarters which led to an 8-3 decision by the Bulldogs in a CIF Southern Section Division II first-round playoff match at the Burroughs pool on Tuesday afternoon.
Front and center is senior goalie Alec Chalkdzhyan, who batted away numerous balls and saved countless other shot attempts.
“Alec had a fantastic showing. He saved us many times during that game,” Burbank coach David Arakelyan said. “Our defense was spectacular and came up with lots of steals. If we put away more shots that margin would’ve been significantly higher, but our defense made up for a lack of offense.”
Four players scored for the Bulldogs and the leading point-producer was junior Gevorg Choginyan with three talilies.
Senior Andranik Bilbulyan and freshman Avvo Ilangesyan each chimed in with two goals and senior Rafael Gevorgyan added a solo goal.
“I’m very proud of these boys. They showed up, defended home court, played their hearts out, and now it’s on to the next [match],” Arakelyan said of Portola, who the Bulldogs will meet in a second-round encounter on Thursday at Burroughs with a 5 p.m. start.
The Seahawks are a longstanding Southern California water polo powerhouse with roughly 3,000 students and a history of producing strong and competitive squads, actually outshot the Bulldogs 26-22, but in the first half each team had 12 shots on goal.
The only goal in the first period came from Choginyan on a nine yard toss and 2:41 left for a 1-0 advantage.
Burbank (20-10) came out and then scored three consecutive goals before Redondo Union (18-14) broke the spell with a tally and five seconds left that sliced the lead to 4-1.
Bilbulyan’s seven-yarder with 4:24 made it 2-0 and Ilangesyan had back-to-back goals.
They came with 3:45 on the clock and was an eight-yarder for a 3-0 cushion and with 2:17 remaining on a 10-yarder for a 4-0 margin.
The Bulldogs had a 6-1 lead after three periods as Choginyan connected on a five-meter penalty throw with 4:18 left for a 5-1 lead.
When Gevorgyan collected a 10-yarder with 52 seconds on the ticker for a five-goal lead.
In the final stanza each team scored two goals as Choginyan added a 10-yarder with 6:36 left for a 7-1 lead and Bilbulyan added a five-yard lob into the net with 5:39 left and a seven-goal cushion.
The Seahawks made the match somewhat closer, but it was too late and too late to sway the final outcome.
A six-yarder from senior attacker Brendan Beizerm with 3:13 left on the clock narrowed the gap to 8-2 and a seven-yarder from freshman attacker Will Henrickson with 1:27 left cut the lead to 8-3.