BURBANK — The Glendale High and Burroughs girls' water polo teams were entrenched in a defensive battle in the opening minutes of Thursday's Pacific League first-place matchup, with the Nitros limiting the Indians to a single shot attempt in the first quarter.
But while the Burroughs shooters were finding it difficult to score, the Indians could take solace in the fact that they had All-CIF Southern Section standout Ahsha Earwood in goal. They were just hoping Earwood could keep them in the game until the offense found its rhythm.
The senior did that and more. Earwood came with a number of spectacular saves — including six in the fourth quarter when the Nitros were forced to play catch-up — to continually frustrate Glendale. The Indians were able to ride Earwood’s performance to an 8-6 victory at home.
With the win, Burroughs (11-7, 4-0 in league) remains undefeated in league, along with defending champion Crescenta Valley (14-1, 3-0). The Falcons throttled Pasadena on Thursday, 28-4.
Earwood provided a spark for Burroughs, which got out to a slow start. The senior finished with 15 saves. She also blocked a five-meter penalty shot.
The Nitros also missed on a second penalty shot.
“We knew this was a big game and we knew how much we needed to win it,” Earwood said. “Me and the other team captain, Sierra Marroquin, we sent out a mass text to the team really trying to pump them up because this was one of our most important games.”
Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said he was impressed with Earwood.
“Their goalie played absolutely fantastic,” said Holbrook, whose team slipped to 9-9, 3-1. “The story of the game came down to their goalie making a number of very key saves.
“Also, although our defense played well, their defense played better.”
That defense limited Glendale’s potent scorer, Biyouregh Boghozian, to just two goals. The Nitros also got two goals each from Maddie Corpuz and Naria Sarkian.
Things didn’t look good for the Indians in the first quarter, as they were outshot, 7-1. However, Burroughs made good on its one shot attempt — from Emilee Holgate (two goals) — and Glendale was only able to total one score, that coming from Boghozian.
Burroughs went up, 2-1, with a score at the 6:01 mark of the second quarter, only to see the Nitros counter with consecutive scores from Corpuz and Sarkian.
Glendale went into the half with a 3-2 advantage.
Things changed in the third, however, as Burroughs began to dominate. The Indians scored four consecutive goals and held Glendale scoreless.
“We just had to find our rhythm,” Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia said. “But once we found our stride in that third quarter we started playing much better.”
Up, 6-3, heading into the fourth quarter, the Nitros scored a quick goal to cut the deficit to two. The teams traded goals down the stretch, with Glendale not being to get closer than two.
Burroughs received two goals each from Holgate, Aliya Ehde and Bailey Simmons, who also had five steals. Kailee Groveman and Marroquin had one goal each.
“We really had to win this one,” Earwood said. “We’re ready for CV.”