By Rick Assad
Caught flat-footed and a bit slow out of the starting gate, the Burroughs High boys’ water polo team had to dig itself out of an early deficit.
Eventually the Bears rallied and managed to tie the score with visiting Glendale on Tuesday afternoon but failed to ever pull ahead and lost 10-8 in a Pacific League match.
The Nitros ramped up the intensity across the first six minutes of the first quarter and scored the first four goals before sophomore Ian Duffield scored from seven feet with 1:07 left in the frame as the Bears, who outshot the Nitros 30-23, drew within 4-1.
Glendale (9-16 and 2-1 in league) attempted six shots in the first period and seized control 5-1 on a point-blank tally from Artin Ghazaryan with nine seconds remaining on the clock.
Sophomore Logan Turla scored from 27-feet as the Bears, which attempted six shots on goals in the first period, sliced the lead to 5-2 with just two seconds on the clock.
“It was just those small [mental] mistakes that ended up having big consequences,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said of the slow start. “It could go either way if we play them again. Hopefully, we’ll be ready for them. And little mistakes in the fourth costs us and the momentum.”
Ghazaryan began the proceedings with a 10-footer and 5:01 remaining and then canned a close-range shot with 1:22 left for a 4-0 edge.
When Andrew Klujian found the goal on a seven-footer with 2:43 left for Glendale it became 3-0 as the Bears asked for time out.
Burroughs (8-11 and 2-1 in league) outshot Glendale 7-6 in the second period and scored three goals as sophomore Harrison Siegel tallied a pair.
They came from nine feet with 6:30 left as the Bears came within 5-3 and on an eight-footer with 2:12 remaining as the hosts pulled within 6-5.
When senior Ryan Rolando’s 10-footer located the net with 3:41 left the Bears cut the lead to 5-4.
Glendale’s only tally of the second period came from Arthur Ter-Matevosyan on a 12-footer as the Nitos, who were outshot 7-5 in the frame, marched ahead 6-4 with 2:33 left on the ticker.
It took a while, but the Bears finally tied the match at 6-6 on a short goal by senior Jean Paul Medrano with 5:37 left in the third quarter as Burroughs had nine shots to four for Glendale.
Glendale then scored the next two tallies including a seven-footer by August Kalaba with 5:03 left to make it 7-6 and another goal from Kalaba from 14 feet with 1:44 left to make it 8-6.
Senior Harrison Zekowski scored all two goals in the fourth period for the Bears, who outshot the Nitros 17-12 in the second half, and they came on a five-meter penalty throw with 1:17 left that trimmed the lead to 10-7 and with nine seconds remaining on a five-footer that cut the advantage to 10-8.
“A part of the sport that a lot of people don’t see, that aren’t really accustomed to watching it is just how effective your energy and mind set is, especially in that first quarter, so in that section where we went opposite of our second quarter where we were down big, in a period like that it is very important to recognize that those moments at the beginning of the game are really indicative of how a team’s energy and mind performs,” Zekowski said of the tepid start. “So, I would say it was a very low energy opening from us.”
Zekowski added: “I would say it’s an expectations game. If you can manage your expectations realistically, then you can perform to them and you can have a very realistic and an effective outcome to what you want,” he said. “It is in part about managing expectations and then secondly it is about having a whole commitment to the game that you play. It was a little bit of a lack of focus and expectation management. It is just dependent on a day-to-day basis.”
Glendale began the frame by knocking in the first two goals as Arno Ghazaryan scored on an eight-footer with 6:20 on the clock for a 9-6 edge and Ter-Matevosyan on a five-meter penalty toss with 2:09 remaining for a 10-6 lead as Burroughs requested time out.