GLENDALE – In terms of area supremacy, a senior-laden Hoover High boys’ water polo team stood above all others last season.
While the host Tornadoes graduated several players off a historic squad, they were still veteran enough and loaded with plenty of talent to down fledgling St. Francis, 20-5, in nonleague action Thursday afternoon.
The victory provided a nice bounce-back effort for Hoover (5-2), which was still stinging from an 8-7 defeat to South Pasadena on Friday. The loss was the third in a row for St. Francis (1-3).
“Our last game was a tough loss to South Pasadena, so we wanted to make sure that we fixed some of the things we did incorrectly,” said Hoover coach Kevin Witt, whose team converted five of seven six-on-five tries. “I tried to get a look at some people who hopefully will fill some roles for us later in the season. We’re still a young team and we’re making sure we develop.”
Juniors David Ashkharian and Jordan Corpuz led the Tornadoes with five goals each with Ashkharian scoring three tallies in a first quarter in which Hoover led, 8-0.
The Tornadoes eventually made it a 12-0 run with a goal from junior Haig Krikorian with 63 seconds left in the first half before St. Francis responded, just barely.
Golden Knights junior wing John Balog scored right before the buzzer sounded from 5 feet on a pass from junior co-captain Ireland MacLean.
Though Witt rotated his entire team into the pool throughout the contest, the Tornadoes continued to build their advantage, leading 15-2 after three.
Golden Knights freshman hole set Greg Camacho scored two goals in the fourth quarter and paced his side with three goals and two steals.
“It’s good for us to beat the local teams and prove to ourselves that we’re pretty good,” said Ashkharian, who added three steals and three assists. “We have a good team this year, but we can still improve a lot. We lost a lot of seniors and we’re just trying to get back.”
Hoover goalie Henry Pruett finished with 10 saves in three quarters.
St. Francis coach Brady Lowdermilk had a pair of takeaways for a second-year squad that took on a CIF Southern Section Division II quarterfinalist.
“We did a couple of nice things, the first being that we didn’t let them in our heads,” said Lowdermilk, whose team was two for seven on six-on-fives. “We played our game and we didn’t get frustrated when they were getting aggressive. We didn’t let ourselves break mentally.
“The other thing is we’re young, too. They might have generations of feeder culture here and we don’t, but we’ve got the talent. I’d put our freshmen and sophomores against theirs any day of the week.”
Under siege since the opening whistle, St. Francis goalie Cole Marston finished with five steals.