By Rick Assad
Nancy Baylor’s stellar prep career is coming to an end, but a Pacific League water polo match with visiting city rival Burbank was still left to be played on Wednesday afternoon.
Baylor showed why she’s going to be playing for the University of Indiana’s women’s team after scoring 10 goals that helped the Bears to an 18-6 victory.
Baylor knocked in all four goals in the first quarter and added three goals in the second period as the Bears led 4-2 and 8-4 at halftime.
Two more goals by Baylor were recorded in the third frame as Burroughs (13-7 and 7-0 in league) pulled ahead 13-5 and Baylor added one tally in the fourth quarter.
“With the season wrapping up and that being our last home game, we’re all thrilled to walk away with a victory,” Baylor said. “We remain undefeated and are a step closer to our goal of winning the league.”
Burbank coach Melani Aghazarian said Valentina Angel played with zeal and confidence.
“Valentina Angel did an amazing job leading her team today on offense as well as defense,” she said. “I’m very proud of all my girls.”
Baylor’s seven-footer with 6:41 left in the opening quarter made it 1-0 and with 5:02 remaining and after a 14-footer, the lead became 2-0.
Baylor’s string was interrupted when Angel drilled a 15-footer with 2:31 left as the Bulldogs (6-13 and 0-7 in league) cut the lead in half at 2-1.
Baylor’s scoring spree continued with 1:54 remaining on a short shot for a 3-1 edge and Angel struck from nine feet 17 seconds later as the advantage was trimmed to 3-2.
Baylor’s seven-footer with 35 seconds on the clock saw the Bears stretch the lead to 4-2.
“I thought the entire team really showed up today and were able to play as a cohesive unit,” Baylor noted.
Angel began the second period with a 20-footer as 6:08 remained and saw Burbank came within 4-3.
Rebecca Zakarian also found the net on a 10-footer for the Bulldogs with 2:03 left in the same frame as they drew within 7-4.
Baylor’s tally with 5:09 left was a seven-footer for a 5-3 lead and Baylor’s close-range attempt and 3:47 on the clock made it a 6-3 edge.
Anastasia Zubkoff added a goal for the Bears with 2:21 on an eight-footer for a 7-3 margin.
When Baylor scored on a point-blank shot and 1:34 left, the Bears were ahead 8-4.
“I think our team did very well considering our team is young and inexperienced,” Aghazarian said. “They have put in a lot of work and have improved so much throughout the season. Regardless of the outcome, they worked incredibly hard and made great stops on defense.”
The second half began with Olivia Dominguez scoring on a nine-footer as 5:17 remained for a 9-4 Burroughs lead.
Baylor tacked on consecutive goals at 4:04 on an eight-footer for a 10-4 lead and from point-blank range with 3:39 left that made it an 11-4 cushion.
Angel snapped the Burroughs scoring skein with a 10-foot tally at 2:38 that made it 11-5 in the third stanza.
Zubkoff added an eight-footer with 1:07 left for a 12-5 advantage and a six-footer to make it 13-5 with 15 seconds remaining.
The Bears outscored the Bulldogs 5-1 in the fourth period as Ava Tomlinson nailed a 16-footer with 6:47 left as the Bears forged ahead 14-5 and Baylor’s seven-footer with 3:48 on the clock made it 15-6.
Mindy Hernandez scored on a 14-footer for the Bears as 2:19 remained for a 10-goal advantage.
Zubkoff scored from close range with 1:36 left for a 17-6 edge and Diana Garcia knocked one in from 14 feet with 15 seconds on the timer for a 12-goal edge.
Makala Kelley found the net from 14 feet with 5:36 left for Burbank that sliced the lead to 14-6.