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McNevin, Crescenta Valley boys' water polo return to form against Glendale

LA CRESCENTA — Kurtis McNevin didn’t want the Crescenta Valley High boys’ water polo team to sink any further in the Pacific League.

So, he made it a priority to be a key contributor to keep the Falcons within earshot of first place in league.

McNevin finished with a match-high four goals Thursday to lift host Crescenta Valley to a 13-9 league victory against rival Glendale.

Crescenta Valley (15-5, 2-1 in league) pulled into a tie for second with Hoover in league after first-place Burroughs (3-0 in league) posted a 23-12 win against Hoover on Thursday. Crescenta Valley suffered a 16-9 defeat to Hoover on Tuesday.

“We definitely wanted to get back on track because it’s a tough league,” McNevin said. “I think we were humbled after losing to Hoover and we knew we’d be in for a good game against Glendale.

“We got back to some things at practice, like pressing on defense and keeping the ball to the outside. I had to go out there and take as many shots as I could.”

Crescenta Valley received three goals apiece from Noah Kim and Alec Abrahamian and one apiece from Bodoe Wyss, Vahagn Bagramian and Nick Mitchell to quell Glendale (9-3, 2-2).

Glendale got two goals each from Vachik Gharibyan, Karapetyan and Hike Pashaian and one apiece from Nick Schmitt, Stephan Karapetyan and Michael Georgizian.

“Maybe it had some to do with nerves, but we just didn’t come out strong,” Glendale coach Narek Vardanian said. “It’s a learning experience in a game like this.

“CV is the most difficult team we’ve played so far. In the first quarter, we played like we knew what the end result would be. From the second quarter until the end, I thought we definitely played much better.”

The Falcons, ranked sixth in CIF Southern Section Division IV, held a 4-0 lead after the first quarter. Crescenta Valley surged to an 8-2 halftime lead, capped by Bagramian’s goal with 20 seconds remaining.

“With some of our past teams, we’d tend to come out slow,” Crescenta Valley coach Jan Sakonju said. “That’s hasn’t been the case with this group.

“We were a little sloppy at times, but we took a step in the right direction today after losing to Hoover. It’s a big win and we’re still right there. I think we did a real good job of establishing our defense by identifying Glendale’s top players. Kurtis came up clutch on offense.”

A goal by McNevin gave Crescenta Valley an 11-5 lead with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter. Glendale could get no closer than 13-9 on a goal by Gevork Karapetyan with 17 seconds left in the match.

charles.rich@latimes.com

Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich

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