GLENDALE — When the final horn sounded and reverberated around the pool deck, the Hoover High girls’ water polo team had reason to celebrate.
Hoover equaled its Pacific League win total of a season ago by posting a thrilling 10-9 home win against Burbank on Thursday.
It left Hoover coach Brittany Connell excited about her team’s prospects looking ahead.
“It was a nerve-wracking game, but it was exciting to see them taste a league victory because they played with so much passion throughout,” Connell said. “They communicated well and they helped each other out.
“It’s great to see the talent starting to emerge and their confidence building.”
Preni Allahyarian scored the winning goal with 2:25 remaining to lift Hoover (2-5, 1-1 in league) over a shocked Burbank (4-6, 0-2).
The Tornadoes also received a match-high five goals from Inga Akopan, a junior driver.
“Things came together and we really wanted to get that first league win,” said Akopyan, who scored the first four goals for Hoover. “We lost to them by a lot last year, so we wanted to come out strong and try to get the win today.
“We did a real great job with our passing and shooting and we played some good defense in the fourth quarter.”
Burbank had four chances to tie the match late, but turned the ball over three times in that stretch.
The Bulldogs tied it at 9 on a goal by Michele Morlock (three goals) with 2:42 to go in the contest. The teams were tied at 8 after three quarters before Rebecca Voskanian gave Hoover a 9-8 lead with four minutes to go. The teams were tied at the end of every quarter until the final buzzer.
“We started the fourth quarter and I had told them coming in that we needed to get at least one goal and then play tough defense,” Connell said. “They just responded so well.”
The loss left the Bulldogs deflated.
“It’s so disappointing,” Burbank coach Allyson Young said. “It’s hard when you are given the tools to succeed and they can’t do it. We’ve been working on driving and defense at practice and we couldn’t put it together in the game.
“We had a lot of opportunities and a lot of our shots went over the cage or off the post. We have to find a way to get better.”
Hoover got two goals from Voskanian and one each from Arpi Lusparyan and Mariam Manukyan.
Burbank received three goals from Sune Aghakian, two from Lexi Lyneis and one from Sera Shahbazian.