After finishing fourth in the Pacific League, postseason expectations for the Burroughs High boys’ water polo program were not overly encouraging.
But the Indians put together a fine playoff run that included a pair of victories.
That came to halt Saturday afternoon as the Indians fell 9-8 to St. Francis High of La Canada Flintridge in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs.
The game was played at Notre Dame High in Sherman Oaks.
“It’s a rough one, but I’m proud of them and all of their accomplishments this season. They played a great game,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said of his players. “This is only the third time Burroughs has come this far, so that is something to be proud of.”
Burroughs (12-9) got off to a slow start as the Golden Knights scored the first three goals of the contest. Jack Wilson, Jason Alietti and Jaren Sin each scored for St. Francis.
Vahagan Sahakyan got Burroughs on the board with 24 seconds left in the first quarter as the Indians took advantage of having a one-man advantage.
The Indians made it 3-2 as Chet Conlan made a long pass to Ryan Jaramillo who put the ball past Golden Knights goalie Vince Ciampa.
Robert Alietti gave St. Francis (29-3) a 4-2 lead on a 5-meter penalty shot.
Xavier Turla got a goal back with 3:43 left in the first half as he put the ball in the lower-left corner.
Robert Alietti gave St. Francis a 5-3 advantage, before Sahakyan cut the difference in half with a turn around shot in the right corner.
Robert Alietti scored once again, with 18 seconds left before the end of the half, making it 6-4 going into the intermission.
Burroughs came out strong to start the second half, as Turla snuck a side-armed shot past Ciampa to make it 6-5 with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
The Indians continued the momentum, especially after goalie David Karagezyan saved a 5-meter penalty shot from Jason Alietti.
Less than a minute later, Burroughs tied things as Tobey Ho scored following a pass from Conlan.
But the Alietti brothers came by to score three straight, as Jason had one and Robert had two in pushing the Golden Knights back up to a 9-6 lead.
Burroughs made it 9-7 with 4:44 left as Turla’s shot was deflected and ended up in the back of the Golden Knights’ net.
Sahakyan made it 9-8 with 1:44 left as he put the ball in the lower right corner of the goal.
Burroughs had two more shots in the final minute, but both were blocked by Ciampa.