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Erik Boal John Abdou said he wasn’t...

Erik Boal

John Abdou said he wasn’t concerned with the particulars of the

Burbank-Burroughs girls’ water polo rivalry, or the past success the

Indians have had against his Bulldogs.

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Obviously, neither was his team.

Burbank -- which served as the host team -- scored the first eight

goals of Tuesday’s Almont League match and held the Indians scoreless

for stretches of 13:28 and 8:20, as it cruised to a 14-4 victory, its

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first in five meetings with its cross-town rival, at the Burroughs

High pool.

“I wasn’t concerned with the whole rivalry thing because this is

just another league [match] to me,” said Abdou, whose squad forced 27

turnovers -- including six shot-clock violations -- and limited

Burroughs to only 12 shots.

“It was good to get the monkey off our back, but we know we’re

capable of a higher level of water polo.

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“I hold my girls to my own standards. The reason we’ve improved so

much is because of the time we put in during the spring and summer

and this is a testament to all of our offseason work. We put in a lot

of hard work and effort and it shows.”

That hard work and effort translated into total control of the

match in the first half, with five different Bulldogs (7-3, 2-1 in

league) scoring before Burroughs’ Caitlin Howison -- who led her team

with three goals and five steals -- broke the Indians’ drought with

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32 seconds left in the second quarter.

“The girls admitted that they were very nervous before the

[match], but give Burbank credit because their upperclassmen took it

to us,” said Indian Coach Dave Cohen, whose squad -- which features

no seniors, two juniors and nine freshmen and sophomores -- dropped

to 4-8, 1-2.

“They executed their game plan and we didn’t and that’s why they

were successful. We practiced a defense that would contain [Jessica

Ullo and Evelyn Setaghian] and we didn’t run it effectively one time.

“But that’s what happens when you have a young team. We’re

definitely rebuilding, but I think this group has more natural talent

than some of the better teams we’ve had in the past. Now that natural

talent has to be molded into water polo talent over the course of the

season so we can develop ourselves as a team.”

As for Tuesday, the only things that were developing were

numerous Burbank counterattacks and uncontested shots as a result of

an ultra-efficient half-court offense.

Said Abdou: “I have nothing but positive things to say about

Burroughs. He’s playing all freshmen and sophomores and that team is

going to be good in two years.”

Ullo had four goals, three steals and two assists, Setaghian

tallied three goals, two steals and one assist, Naeiri Barkhordian

contributed two goals, three assists and three steals and Brisa

Sandoval added two goals, four steals and three assists for the

Bulldogs.

Burbank will play Bell Gardens at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in a league

match at Burroughs.


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