Accomplished water polo player Chase Borisoff admits there's nothing like getting the ball a few meters away from an opponent's goal, working for a shot and finally firing a laser that makes its way past a flailing goalkeeper and into the cage for a score.
"Everybody likes to score," said Borisoff, who just completed his senior season with the La Cañada High boys' team. "But there's a lot more to water polo than scoring."
There's probably not a truer statement that can be uttered that more encapsulates Borisoff's performance, and his worth to the Spartans, during the 2012 season than the words that came out of his own mouth.
When Borisoff wanted to, he could score goals in bunches, his powerful shot and pool savvy perfected by spending thousands of hours and nearly a decade toiling in a chlorine-induced environment that became his second home.
"Scoring goals gets you most of the glory and you definitely get noticed more when you're scoring a lot," Borisoff said. "But what I like more than that is setting up my teammates and giving them a chance, as well. When you make a good pass and your teammate gets a goal, it's nice to know that you set him up for that goal. It's kind of like operating behind the scenes."
Borisoff's worth to La Cañada proved to be infinitely more than how many times he could put goals on the scoreboard. On the offensive end, the senior was a master facilitator, continually looking for ways to work the ball to his teammates and getting them involved with pin-point passes. On defense, Borisoff was a ball hawk, hounding the opponent's best player and drawing ejections at a frenzied pace to give his team an added advantage.
"For the most part, Chase and I play on the same side," Spartans senior utility Symeon Stefan said. "It was really nice to have him there because he is very, very steady and I was completely confident that he was going to make the right decision, whether it was passing it to me or a teammate or taking it himself.
"What's great about Chase is that he seems to have the ability to make the right decision at the right time. When we were involved in a tight game, it was always comforting to know that we had someone like that on our side."
Borisoff's talents weren't lost on the coaches of the Rio Hondo League and the coaches in CIF Southern Section Division III. Along with being voted the Rio Hondo League co-Player of the Year, an award he shared with Stefan, he also was an All-CIF first-team selection.
In addition, the Spartans captured a league championship and advanced to the CIF division title contest for the first time in four years.
It is because of Borisoff's accomplishments that he has been named the 2012 All-Area Boys' Water Polo Player of the Year by the writers and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, La Cañada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun.
A glance at the numbers that Borisoff put up for the Spartans paint a picture of exactly how much of a well-rounded player he proved to be. The utility standout tallied 108 goals and dished out a remarkable 135 assists, as he had a hand in 243 of the team's goals. On the defensive end, he had 47 steals and 78 drawn ejections.
La Cañada's coach this season was Devon Borisoff, Chase's older brother and a standout All-American water polo player in his own right for the Spartans and later at USC. Devon said Chase emerged as the team's pool general and the senior was adept at making things happen.
"Chase really was our playmaker and just about everything went through him," said Devon, who was the All-Area Player of the Year in 2006. "He did the little things that we needed in the right spots. He didn't always have to score for us to be successful. He did a lot of things very well."
With five eventual All-CIF players on its roster — including Stefan, who tallied 142 goals and 52 steals — La Cañada battled to go 8-0 in the Rio Hondo League and nailed down the title. But it didn't come easily, as the Spartans just got by South Pasadena, 17-14, to secure the crown.
Than it was off to the Division III playoffs, where the Spartans (23-9) steamrolled through the first two rounds, defeating San Juan Hills, 17-7, in the opener and downing Corona Santiago, 19-7, in the quarterfinals. La Cañada then had to fight to win its semifinal contest, 11-8, against Palos Verdes to get to the title match
Unfortunately for the Spartans, their bid to capture the program's sixth CIF title fell short, as they were defeated by Martin Luther King, 14-9.
La Cañada won titles in 1979, '97, '99, '05 and '07
"It would have been nice to win a CIF title," Chase Borisoff said. "At La Cañada the expectation every year is to win a CIF title. But we fell a little short this year.
"At La Cañada, because of the history in water polo, there is an expectation every year to win a CIF championship. That was our goal every year I played in the program."
Although Borisoff leaves La Cañada without a coveted CIF championship, he looks back on his tenure at the school with fond memories.
Entering the program four years ago, the senior realized the high expectations and the scrutiny he would face throughout this career. But that's what comes with having the name Borisoff and competing in the La Cañada program. Along with Devon, Chase's other brother, Spencer, was a star player at the school as well. Both Devon and Spencer were high school All-Americans who earned All-CIF and all-league MVP accolades. The brothers also notched a CIF title apiece.
Instead of wilting under the pressure of the legacy left by this brothers, Chase thrived on it.
"Obviously, coming to La Cañada water polo, and especially being a Borisoff, I was expected to do a lot because of the accomplishments of my brothers who came before me," Chase said. "But that was pressure that I put on myself, to live up to those expectations. I just always wanted to succeed like I saw my brothers succeed. That's what really drove me.
"What ended up happening is that I became a much different player than they were. My brothers set the bar high and I was always trying my best to live up to the success that they had. It made me work that much harder. …Looking back, I really wouldn't have it any other way."