SOUTH PASADENA — When the Burroughs High boys’ water polo team needed a boost, it turned to its most decorated player.
The Indians found themselves trailing South Pasadena by three goals late in the fourth quarter of their nonleague match Tuesday afternoon.
That’s when David Arakelyan took over.
Arakelyan, a senior driver, scored three goals in a 56-second span and assisted on the winning score with less than two minutes remaining to lift the Indians to a 13-12 victory against the host Tigers.
Arakelyan, the 2016 CIF Southern Section Division V Player of the Year who helped the Indians win the Division V championship, led all scorers with eight goals.
“I try and take the opportunities that I have and I try and do my best, especially when our team is down,” Arakelyan said. “Coming back on a 4-0 run to win this game is really special.
“I tried to do my part, but I think the young guys really stepped up and did a great job for us. Our goalie played great and we played awesome defense in the fourth quarter when we really needed it.”
Burroughs (3-3) went ahead, 13-12, with 1:20 left when Arakelyan passed the ball from the middle to Vahagan Saakyan (two goals) on the right side, who put in it for the winning score.
Burroughs was missing its starting goalkeeper and pressed junior varsity keeper David Karagezyan (six saves) into duty.
Things didn’t look good for the Indians in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, as South Pasadena (1-0) scored with 6:40 remaining to take a three-goal advantage, 12-9.
Spearheaded by the defense, Arakelyan (three steals) tallied goals at the 6:29, 5:39 and 5:16 marks to bring Burroughs back to tie it at 12.
“He knows how to score,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “He is just a clutch player and he can put the ball in for a goal from almost anywhere. In situations where we really need him he really comes through.
“He is an extremely smart player on offense and defense and he is good at directing the team.”
Afrer knotting the score in the fourth, the Indians had two man-advantage opportunities, but couldn’t convert either.
The Tigers also had their chances to score late in the fourth, the best coming with 20 seconds left when Jasper Lee moved in on Karagezyan. But the keeper blocked the shot with his body and held on to give possession to Burroughs, which ran out the clock.
JJ Ambartsymyan added two goals and Richard Legoretta tallied one for the Indians.
The teams played evenly through most of the first half, with the Indians and Tigers tied at 2 after one quarter and Burroughs holding a 5-4 advantage at halftime.
The third quarter saw a wealth of scoring with South Pasadena outscoring the visitors, 7-4, to take an 11-9 lead after three quarters.
“We have three All-CIF players back and our other three starters are all first-year varsity players, so we are making the adjustments and getting things together,” Cook said. “They are quick learners and they did pick it up at the end of the game.”
Philip Lee led South Pasadena with five goals.