By Rick Assad
Expectations are genuinely upbeat for the Burbank High and Burroughs girls’ water polo teams.
“I am very excited for our upcoming season,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “We have a lot of talented and experienced members returning who are well-rounded and play well together.”
Spearheading the Indians, who went 10-9 overall and 5-3 in the Pacific League with an opening-round setback in the CIF Southern Section playoffs a season ago, is senior utility Gwendolyn Turla.
An offensive threat every time Turla had the ball in her hands, she tallied a team-high 67 goals and averaged 3.5 goals per game, with 22 steals and 12 assists.
Four seniors join Turla, who had 140 shots on goal, and they include attacker Cameron Flores, attacker Alice Martinez, setter Bianca Sanchez and attacker Andrea Silva.
Ten juniors will be asked to contribute offensively and play defense and they are attacker Amy Berberyan, attacker Leann Bermudez, attacker Samantha Leano, attacker Madeline Lingad, attacker Brianna Meneses, utility Aleah Orozco, attacker Camilla Panoza, attacker Isabel Rosado, attacker Katie Vlick, goalie Isabella Erickson, and Emmanuella Nathan, a sophomore, will play goalie.
The Indians are 0-1 this season after losing to San Marino 9-8 in the Burbank Tournament and will launch their league campaign on Jan. 9 when they host Crescenta Valley and will visit archrival Burbank on Jan. 16.
Burbank coach Allyson Young also thinks the Bulldogs will have a successful campaign.
“I expect to have a better season than last season because I have a lot of returners,” said Young, whose team went 6-18 overall and didn’t make the playoffs after finishing fifth in the league.
Young will have six returners and they include senior driver Sune Aghakian, who tossed in a team-best 49 goals and senior utility Lexi Lyneis, who had 38 tallies.
The others are senior driver Tara Goodwin, junior utility Patil Minassian, junior driver Camila Salas and junior driver Michelle Morlock.
Young said that she is counting on this group of veterans to help the other players who have less experience.
“I think they can be good leaders because they understand what it takes to play on the varsity level,” Young said.
The Bulldogs, who are 3-1 after defeating host La Salle 16-3, losing to host San Marino 6-5, then knocking off Louisville 9-7 and Torrance 8-3 in the Burbank Tournament, commence league play on Jan. 9 against Pasadena.
The remainder of the squad includes senior driver Valentina Abadjian, senior driver Angelica Perez, senior driver Melissa De La Cruz, junior goalie Suzie Misiryan, sophomore driver Sera Saahbazian, sophomore driver Sophia Brice and sophomore driver Michelle Mirzoyan.