Tag Archives: Yana Stepanyan

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.