BURBANK — Having established a championship pedigree after winning the program’s first CIF title a season ago, the Burroughs High boys’ water polo team put it to the test Tuesday.
Burroughs captured the CIF Southern Section Division V championship in 2016 and was moved to Division III, resulting in a new challenge.
Behind eight goals from David Arakelyan and a huge save from goalkeeper Simon Kharazyan, Burroughs began the playoffs Tuesday with a 12-11 first-round home win against Beckman.
Burroughs (15-8) will meet Dos Pueblos or Claremont in a second-round match Thursday at a site to be determined.
Arakelyan gave the Indians, who won the Pacific League championship, a 12-11 lead with 1:36 remaining in the fourth quarter after tying it at 11 two minutes earlier.
Beckman (16-14) pressed for the tying goal and had a man-advantage opportunity with 50 seconds left. A shot by Andrew Marsh was stopped by Kharazyan before deflecting off the post with 28 seconds to go.
“This was such a crazy game that had a lot of action,” said Arakelyan, a senior. “I think knowing how to win helped us a lot here and we knew we’d be going up against a very good team in Beckman.
“We were down, 11-10, and we needed to find a way to come back. We picked it up and were able to take over toward the end.”
Burroughs squandered a 10-5 lead early in the third quarter. Beckman, which took second in the Pacific Coast League, stormed back to close to within 10-9 on a goal by Aviv Zohman with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Patriots tied it at 10 on a goal by Zohman, who finished with six goals, with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter and took an 11-10 lead on a goal from Baylor Reynoso with 3:48 remaining.
“It got very exciting in the fourth quarter,” said Kharazyan, who had six saves. “We just needed to relax and find a way to get the momentum back.
“My heart was definitely racing in those last few minutes and I needed to come up with that save.”
Burroughs held a 6-5 halftime lead, getting a goal by Arakelyan with 3:26 to play in the second quarter.
Beckman held a 3-1 lead midway through the first quarter. However, Burroughs finished on a 3-1 run to tie it at 4 on a goal by JJ Ambartsumyan with two seconds to go.
“It was an interesting game,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “Beckman came back and we had to be resilient. I think the teams were evenly matched.
“We had to make quite a run at the end after Beckman came back. We got that big save at the end from Simon, just like he did last week in the league championship game.”
Ambartsumyan finished with three goals and Arthur Sefanyan had one for the Indians.