Tag Archives: Sophia Brice

Burbank Girls Water Polo Sneaks Past Visiting Glendale, 12-11

By Rick Assad

Before the Burbank High girls’ water polo team squared off against visiting Glendale in its Pacific League match on Thursday, six seniors were recognized for their contributions in and out of the swimming pool.

Once the clash began, it was evident these two teams were nearly identical, and they were, but in the end the Bulldogs managed to escape with a 12-11 triumph.

Julie Kim paced the Bulldogs with five goals in a 12-11 win over Glendale. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Too close for comfort. Especially since it was Senior Day. Their heads weren’t in the game like it usually was,” Burbank coach Melani Aghazarian said. “And I feel like we didn’t  play to our full potential. It didn’t really pick up at all.”

Aghazarian added: “It may have been a win, but I expected more from my girls,” she noted. “I’m proud of them for pushing through. That wasn’t their full potential. They weren’t as focused. Their heads were somewhere else.”

Leading the charge was sophomore Julie Kim, who garnered a team-best five goals including three in the first half as Burbank led 6-5 at the intermission.

Junior Yana Stephanyan chipped in with three second-half goals and senior Sophia Brice and senior Sera Shabhazian each tossed in two goals.

“I think this year we have a lot of chemistry,” Brice said. “Last year we were really close with one another, but this year we were majority seniors so all of our starting lineup is seniors.”

Anasheh Abedian looks to score for the Bulldogs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Brice continued: “We’ve played together for all four years of high school, so we have a strong bond with one another and we can trust each other,” she pointed out. “And this year we’re running a lot more plays and I feel more confident when I play.”

Brice said that the pre-match festivities maybe made the team perhaps too charged.

“We were very excited and a little nervous,” she said. “So we were just kind of jumpy. And it took us until the second half of the game to really get focused.”

Glendale senior attacker Jamie Fritz was a one-girl wrecking ball after scoring a match-best seven goals that included five in the second half.

“We’re a very young team and we’ve come a long way this season, especially in the last two weeks the amount these girls have grown is phenomenal,” Glendale coach Garrett Fritz said. “But there is definitely some things we still have to learn in terms of maintaining your cool like in an advantage situation. In these situations, you can’t get too over excited.”

Julie Kim tries to control the ball while being guarded by two Nitro defenders. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Nitros (4-12 and 0-4 in league) seized a 2-0 advantage when sophomore utility Ashley Hernandez made it 1-0 on a 16-foot toss with 6:03 left and Fritz’s 10-footer with 5:23 left pushed the lead to 2-0.

The Bulldogs evened it at 2-2 on a 10-foot laser from Kim with 4:22 remaining on the clock and Brice’s 12-footer with 31 seconds left in the opening quarter.

Glendale senior attacker/defender Bernice Doronila found the range on a 10-footer, 14 seconds later for a 3-2 lead.

Burbank (6-5 and 2-1 in league) answered with a 12-footer from Kim with one second on the clock that leveled it a 3-3.

The Bulldogs outscored the Nitros 3-2 in the second period as Shabhazian connected on a 10-footer with 5:51 left that made it 4-3 and Kim’s 12-foot tally, 50 seconds later extended Burbank’s advantage to 5-3.

Stubborn, Glendale evened it at 5-5 when Doronila unloaded a 10-footer with 2:59 on the ticker and Fritz added a six-footer, 13 seconds later.

The final tally of the second quarter was an eight-footer from Brice and it proved to be the key goal because each squad scored six goals in the second half.

Fritz’s 10-footer with 6:22 left in the third quarter evened it at 6-6, but Burbank moved ahead 7-6 on a 12-footer from Kim, 18 seconds later.

Glendale tied it at 7-7 on a 16-foot goal from Fritz, only to see the Bulldogs respond with back-to-back goals as Kim scored on a 12-footer with 4:25 showing and Stepanyan’s eight-footer with 3:31 left made it a 9-7 cushion.

Fritz’s 10-footer with 2:59 left sliced the deficit to 9-8, but Shabhazian’s 10-foot laser with 1:56 remaining made it 10-8.

The fourth quarter began with Fritz scoring on an eight-footer and 4:42 left that narrowed Burbank’s lead to 10-9 and Doronila’s six-footer knotted it at 10-10 with 3:34 left.

Burbank scored two of the next three goals as Stepanyan’s eight-footer with 3:13 on the clock broke the deadlock and made it 11-10 and Kim’s 10-footer with 2:27 showing increased the lead to 12-10.

Fritz’s 16-foot rainbow with 2:07 showing trimmed the margin to 12-11 and it would be the last goal, as neither team scored the rest of the fourth period.

Burbank, Burroughs Girls Water Polo Looks To Improve

By Rick Assad

It’s not exactly beach weather in Southern California with low temperatures and occasional rain, but the Burroughs High and Burbank girls’ water polo season is already under way.

Each team will be looking to better the previous season record-wise and that means a run at the Pacific League crown.

The Indians are coming off a campaign in which they went 9-7 in all matches and 5-3 for third place in league.

Emanuella Nathan, who signed a letter of intent to play for the University of the Pacific, will be a presence for the Indians in goal. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burroughs coach Jacob Cook thinks this could be an exciting and a special season for the Indians.

“I have high expectations for the team and I expect them to do well in league and the playoffs,” he said.

A season ago, the Indians were knocked out of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs after losing to El Segundo 10-0.

Defense is always essential and with senior Emanuella Nathan playing goalie, the Indians are going to have an extremely stingy defense, which will in turn allow Burroughs to be in many games.

Nathan, who has been a prep standout for several years, recently signed a letter of intent to play water polo for the University of the Pacific.

Cook will have three other seniors on the team and they include Mallory Thomas, Chloe Caneday and Madeline Lingad.

The trio will be asked to lead the team and also contribute points and defense, which is something each will gladly do.

Burbank senior Sera Shabhazian will be a major contributor and a key to the Bulldogs’ success. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Five juniors are on the Burroughs squad and they are Angelina Lee, Bella Mucha, Jane Reyes, Chrissy Vlick and Charlotte Jennings.

Three sophomores are on the team and they include Emily Callahan, Kelly Long and Clarissa Robles.

Nancy Baylor is the lone freshman, but is extremely talented, having played for the prestigious Rose Bowl travel team.

“I would say Chrissy, Bella and Clarissa are the ones to look out for,” Cook said of his top players.

The Bulldogs went 7-14 overall and 4-4 in league play for fifth place, and didn’t qualify for the postseason.

Burbank has a first-year coach in Melani Aghazarian, who played water polo for Glendale High, wants to see improvement, even if it takes a little while.

“I just want the girls to work hard and come out at the end really proud of what they’ve accomplished,” she said of this season. “I hope to make CIF for playoffs, but I’m not too worried about it this year. It’s a rebuilding year.”

Aghazarian added: “They’re all trusting of each other and it’s a new experience. I want them to have a really good work ethic,” she pointed out.

Aghazarian also addressed her philosophy. “I think defense wins games. I think defense wins championships in the long run. I am very defense oriented,” she said. “Offense and defense, it’s all important. For offense, I just want the girls to move more, create more opportunities. I’m looking to build a chemistry, which is something they don’t have now.”

The Bulldogs will be paced by four seniors starters: Sera Shabhazian, Anasheh Abedian, Sophia Brice and Michele Mirzoyan.

Junior Jenny Stepanyan will be in the cage and her performance will be one indicator of whether the Bulldogs will post a better record than last season.

The other Bulldog starters include junior Yana Stepanyan and sophomore Julie Kim, and they are also going to have to play well in order for Burbank to make the playoffs.

The rest of the team will consist of Lauren Applebaum, Vana Matevosian, Ananya Katappagari, Galia Housepian, Gabriella Aghajanyan, Ania Simonian and Rachel Tomasek, Stepanyan’s backup in goal.

Burbank Girls Water Polo Starts Fast, Wins 11-9 Over Glendale

By Rick Assad

 

Taking a few weeks off for Christmas vacation was both good and bad for the Burbank High girls’ water polo team.

It was a plus because several players were injured or sick which allowed them to heal and get well.

On the negative side, there could also be rust because of inactivity, but when the Bulldogs faced visiting Glendale on Tuesday afternoon, the team came out and scored five goals in the opening quarter en route to an 11-9 Pacific League win.

“I was nervous just because I knew last year we lost to them by a couple,” Burbank interim coach Zack Card said. “They came out really strong. A lot of our games we came out really beat. Not really focused. They were ball-watching.”

Sera Shahbazian scored three goals for Burbank in an 11-9 win over Glendale. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Burbank (4-6 and 1-1 in league) never trailed and led by senior Michelle Morlock’s five goals, including two in the initial frame.

“It’s important that you keep playing your hardest,” Morlock said. “Everyone knew what they were supposed to do and they did it. And that’s important. You need to be where you’re supposed to be and work as hard as everyone else.”

Morlock’s shot from point-blank range with 6:49 left in the first quarter made it 1-0 and Morlock’s close-range bullet with 3:55 left in the same frame extended the advantage to 3-0.

Morlock’s three-footer with 2:14 remaining on the ticker in the second period gave the Bulldogs a 7-3 lead.

“That’s something we’ve been practicing,” Morlock said of the team’s shot selection. “Knowing where to shoot and when to shoot. It’s about everyone driving and moving and getting to where they need to be.”

Morlock’s tally with 2:52 on the clock in the third period saw the Bulldogs, who finished tied for fifth place in league last season and didn’t make the CIF Southern Section playoffs, march ahead 8-5.

Another close-range shot attempt by Morlock with 6:42 left in the contest pushed Burbank’s lead to 10-5.

Sera Shahbazian notched three goals for the Bulldogs, including two in the opening frame that made it 2-0 on a five-footer with 5:22 left and another from five feet with less than second left for a 5-2 margin.

Shahbazian’s six-footer with 5:40 on the ticker in the fourth quarter then pushed Burbank’s lead to 11-5.

Sophia Brice’s goal from eight feet with 59 seconds left in the first frame made it 4-1 and Brice’s tally on a six-foot loft with 2:13 remaining handed the Bulldogs a 9-5 edge.

Patil Minassian’s eight-footer with 5:48 left in the second period catapulted the Bulldogs in front 6-3.

Senior Emma Mueller finished with five goals for the Nitros (3-6 and 1-2 in league) and had three consecutive scores in the fourth quarter.

Mueller’s eight-footer with 3:39 left sliced Burbank’s lead to 11-6, a six-footer with 1:32 lowered it to 11-7 and a five-footer with 50 seconds cut it to 11-8.

“In terms of development, I feel like our six on fives are definitely getting better,” Glendale coach Jazzmyne Urquiza said. “What we tend to do as a team is that we’re a second-half team. We do not play well in the first half and then we come back in the second half and sometimes it’s just not enough.”

Junior Bernica Doronila tacked on two goals for the Nitros and they came with 6:16 left in the second quarter, a five-footer that cut it to 5-3, and a tally with 29 seconds left the fourth quarter that drew Glendale to within 11-9.

Junior Jamie Fritz also chipped in with two goals and were knocked home in the first quarter on a 10-footer with 3:24 left that shaved Burbank’s edge to 3-1 and in the third period on a point-blank shot with 5:27 left as the Nitros came within 7-4.

Burbank’s Suzy Misiryan was the goaltender for three quarters and replaced by Jenny Stepanian in the fourth period.

Burroughs, Burbank Girls Water Polo Eye CIF Playoffs

By Rick Assad

 

Sometimes goals are realized and sometimes they’re not. In the case of the Burroughs High and Burbank girls’ water polo teams, their objective is fairly simple and it’s to qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

Each team is fairly young, and both have skilled players, so reaching the postseason is a reality. The Bulldogs and Indians will meet on Jan. 23 at Burroughs.

Junior goalie Emmanuella Nathan will be a key for Burroughs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The Indians, who were 12-6 last season and 6-2 in the Pacific League for second place, will be led offensively by senior Aleah Orozco and junior goalie Emanuella Nathan.

Coach Jacob Cook is very optimistic about the team after reaching the quarterfinals a season ago.

“I’m looking forward to growing the team and improving as much as possible over the season,” Cook said. “The team is young in experience, but they are hard workers and eager to improve. I don’t know how the rest of the league is looking, but we are looking to progress as far as we can.”

Burbank has six quality players who can score at any moment. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The team consists of 15 players including 11 seniors and they are Amy Berberyan, Leann Bermudez, Samantha Leano, Megan Sawyer, Brianna Meneses, Bianey Mendoza, Jaelynn Bijasa, Kathryn Vlick, Isabel Rosado and Camila Panozo.

There are four juniors on the squad and they include Madeline Lingad, Chloe Caneday and Mallory Thomas.

The Indians have played a few matches including a 5-4 win over Clairemont of San Diego in which Orozco had a match-best four goals and Berberyan the game-winner, while Nathan finished with 24 saves.

The Bulldogs, who were 7-13 last season, are also quite tender, but eager to learn and are getting better with time, according to interim coach Zack Card, who is filling in for Allyson Young, who gave birth to a bouncing baby girl a few months ago.

The Indians are coming off a season in which they went to the CIF Southern Section playoffs. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

There are 11 players on the team, with six players standing out according to Card.

There are three seniors and they are Patil Minassian, Camila Salas and Michelle Morlock.

“Patil is a very experienced player,” Card said. “She’s a four-year player. Incredible leadership in and out of the pool. A strong two-meter defender and a strong ball handler.”

Card spoke about Salas in glowing terms.

“She’s another four-year athlete. A strong swimmer and great on the counter attack,” Card noted.

The Bulldogs are gunning to finish high in the Pacific League. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Card then addressed Morlock.

“She’s an incredibly gifted athlete,” he pointed out. “A strong swimmer. Her mental awareness. Her water polo IQ. It’s a gift, really. She never gives up and never makes any excuses.”

The other three standout performers are juniors, Sophia Brice, Michelle Morozian and Sera Shahbazian.

Card also praised Brice. “Sophia is a strong counter-attack player with strong fundamentals,” he said.

Card also likes Shahbazian. “She’s just relentless on defense. Always working away from the ball, helping her teammates,” he said.

Card spoke about Morozian and what she brings to the table. “Her ability to play defense is incredible,” he said.

The rest of the squad consists of juniors Angie Chavez, Grace Tomasek, Anasheh Abedian, Gabby Aghajanyan and Ashley Karazi.

Burbank Girls Water Polo Struggles Against Marymount, Loses 10-4

By Rick Assad

 

A severe and early deficit faced the Burbank High girls’ water polo team on Monday afternoon at the Burroughs swimming pool.

Like a dragster taking off and then racing down the runway, the Sailors seized control in the first quarter, added to the lead in the second frame and took home a 10-4 decision in a nonleague match.

“That’s something we’re trying to work on this year, is coming out with intensity every quarter,” Marymount coach Nicholas Amstutz said. “We have four mini-games, so we have a fresh start.”

The Bulldogs couldn’t keep up with the Sailors and fell 10-4 in a nonleague match. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Toni Ashby paced Marymount offensively with four goals including three goals in the second period as the Sailors pulled ahead 9-0 at halftime.

Lizzy Reilly had three scores for the Sailors (3-1), knocking in two goals in the second frame.

“We only have three seniors on this team,” Amstutz said of his young squad that led 3-0 after the first quarter. “We have a lot of young talent. We like the three leaders for sure. The three seniors we have are our captains. They’ve been stepping up a lot.”

The Bulldogs (1-1) weren’t about to throw in the towel and rallied for three goals in the third quarter to slice the lead to 9-3.

Burbank struggled in the first half, but came on strong in the second half against Marymount. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Sera Shahbazian’s tally from eight feet and 3:41 on the clock reduced the deficit to 9-1.

When Michelle Morlock knocked home a winner from close range and 2:13 left on the ticker, Burbank came within 9-2.

It became 9-3 with 1:05 left on the buzzer on Sophia Brice’s five-foot tally.

Shahbazian’s five-footer with 42 seconds remaining in the match trimmed Marymount’s lead to 10-4.

Ashby’s blast from eight feet and 1:13 remaining on the clock in the opening quarter made it 3-0 in favor of Marymount.

When Ashby located the back of the net from 10 feet and 4:26 showing in the second frame, the Sailors glided ahead 7-0 and with 3:20 on the buzzer, Ashby’s 15-footer made it 8-0.

An eight-footer by Ashby with 1:42 showing in the second period supplied the Sailors with a 9-0 advantage.

Reilly’s six-footer with 6:17 on the clock in the second stanza handed Marymount a 5-0 cushion and an eight-footer by Reilly with 5:32 left before the intermission pushed the advantage to 6-0.

After Reilly’s point-blank shot with 3:43 left on the clock in the contest, the Sailors scooted ahead 10-3.

Burbank, Burroughs Girls Water Polo Have High Expectations

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.

Senior Gwendolyn Turla led the Indians in scoring with 67 goals. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

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.

Burroughs will face host Burbank on Jan. 16. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“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.