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.
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
first in five meetings with its cross-town rival, at the Burroughs
“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.
“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
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
Burbank will play Bell Gardens at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in a league
match at Burroughs.