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Opportunity knocks, but Burbank doesn’t answer

Erik Boal

For the Glendale High girls’ water polo team, it’s nonleague match

against Burbank served as the ideal tuneup for today’s Pacific League

showdown with Crescenta Valley.


For the visiting Bulldogs, their second meeting of the season with

the Nitros Monday couldn’t have come at a more inopportune juncture

in their schedule.

Coming off a four-match stint in the Oxnard Tournament and


beginning a grueling stretch of final exams, in addition to two

Almont League matches this week, the Bulldogs struggled to establish

any sort of rhythm or consistency on offense.

And even though the Nitros endured a scoreless drought of 9:16

between the first and third quarters, they manufactured enough timely

goals and relied on the outstanding goalkeeping of senior Sarineh

Alexani to post a 6-5 victory.

Alexani tallied an assist, three steals and 16 saves -- including


nine in the second half -- and limited Burbank (9-7) to just one goal

in five situations with a six-on-five advantage to lift Glendale

(14-5) to its fifth straight win.

“Sarineh is our captain in the water and she needs to be on top of

everything vocally,” said Glendale co-Coach Alfred Tamazyan, whose

squad held the Bulldogs -- who also dropped a decision to the Nitros

on Dec. 14 in the El Rancho Tournament -- scoreless for stretches of

10:03, 8:53 and 4:52.


“She was on top of her game [Monday], but it’s going to take

everything we have to win [Wednesday]. It’s going to be a physical

[match] and that’s why this [match] was strategically put here to get

us ready for [Crescenta Valley].”

Said Burbank Coach John Abdou: “You’re never going to win any

water polo [matches] when you convert 20% of your six-on-fives and in

a one-goal [match], how much more critical does that stat become?

“Good teams should be around 60%, but part of it was because we

had no spacing. We played all weekend in a wide pool and then we had

to come in here and play in a narrow pool and our spacing was way


“Also, the officials never let either team set a pace from the

start. When the total score is 11 goals between two teams like this,

that’s an indicator that there isn’t any flow or pace to the


Elina Vartanyan and Ariga Hacopian both scored twice for Glendale,

which received a goal from Cindy Ramos, in addition to a goal and a

combined 11 steals from Michelle Garcia and Argine Kadymyan.

Hacopian scored with 1:40 left off an assist from Kadymyan for the

eventual match-winner.

Brisa Sandoval tallied her lone goal with nine seconds remaining

for the Bulldogs, who received two goals and four steals from Jessica

Ullo and a goal each from Catalina Casas and Becky Thomas.

“Burbank is really lucky to have John because he’s played at the

college level and he brings that feel to his team,” said Tamazyan,

whose squad scored twice on four-meter penalty shots.

Nitro co-Coach Pat Lancaster added: “What a complete turnaround

[from a team that won just five matches last year]. He’s done a great

job and you definitely notice the increase in discipline.”


Burbank High’s Naeiri Barkhordia takes a shot past Glendale’s

Crystal Lim during Monday’s nonleague match at Glendale. The Bulldogs

lost, 6-5.