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Bulldogs’ offense sputters in 15-3 loss

Jeff Tully

For the first quarter of their CIF Southern Section Division III

playoff match, Burbank and Whittier La Serna highs looked like two

evenly matched boys’ water polo teams.


However, after the opening quarter, the host Lancers stepped up

their defense and the Bulldogs couldn’t keep up Thursday, as Burbank

fell, 15-3, to end its season.

The Bulldogs (14-9) received a harsh welcome to the playoffs, its


second straight trip to the postseason. It is also the team’s second

consecutive loss in the first round, as Burbank was defeated by Santa

Monica, 10-8, last season.

Burbank’s 2002 playoff appearance was its first in more than a


“Although we lost in the first round, we are happy with our

season,” Burbank Coach Andre Setaghian said. “We have been able to

accomplish a lot this season, and these players have a lot to be


proud of.”

One of the accomplishments is the Bulldogs’ continued rise in the

Almont League. The team finished second behind Montebello, after

placing third in 2002. Burbank was the fourth-place team in the

league three seasons ago.

And the program has been able to improve the past three years

without a home pool, which is expected to be finished by the 2004

school year. The Bulldogs have been without a pool since 1994, when


the facility was damaged by the Northridge earthquake.

“We are trying to build up a team and bring pride to this

program,” Setaghian said. “We want to keep this going. And just wait

until we get our pool, we will be even better.”

Setaghian and his team was able to stay with La Serna (21-8)

throughout the first quarter, as the Lancers held a 1-0 advantage.

But in the second quarter, the La Serna defense clamped down and

hounded the Bulldog shooters, who were forced to take most of their

shots from the outside.

The Lancers also received a fine effort from goalkeeper Josh

Sheek, who made five of his 11 saves in the first half.

“Josh is the key to our entire offense,” said La Serna Coach Tommy

Anderson, whose team won the Del Rio League championship.

“The rest of the team is able to play with more confidence, and

they have the security of knowing they have someone like Josh playing

behind them.”

With their defense clicking, the Lancers shooters did their part,

as the team shutout the Bulldogs, 5-0, in the second quarter.

The La Serna defense corralled the Bulldogs and didn’t allow them

any close shots through much of the first three quarters.

Burbank’s Art Zagaryan was finally able to get a shot off close to

the Lancers’ net with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter, but his

effort went wide left.

Zagaryan came back 24 seconds later to tally Burbank’s first goal.

However, by them, the Bulldogs already trailed, 7-1.

Zagaryan scored a second goal with 44 seconds left in the third


The Lancers had seven players score, with Ryan Goetz leading the

way with four goals.

One bright spot for the Bulldogs was the play of goalkeeper Nate

Taylor. Taylor made nine saves, many of the from at point-blank


“I can’t say enough about Nate,” Setaghian said. “I am so happy to

have had him as a player.”