GLENDALE â€” It certainly wasn't an ordinary Pacific League opener for the Hoover and Burroughs high boys' water polo teams.
The first-year coaches on both squads would attest to that assessment, though their defensive units seemed to take the day off in Burroughs' 19-17 road victory against Hoover on Tuesday.
Hoover Coach Matt Jung and Burroughs Coach Kristina Garcia said following the 36-goal match, that defense had been a strong point. That didn't seem indicative Tuesday.
Senior driver Jarrod Przebieda finished with seven goals and senior hole-set Michael Peyton added six to spark the Indians, who played their first match in the Pacific League after years competing in the Almont League.
The Indians (5-4) scored six fourth-quarter goals, including three in the final 3:48.
Hoover (4-3) turned to Luka Martinovic, who registered a match-high nine goals.
While Przebieda, Peyton and Martinovic put on a clinic on how to score goals during the 28-minute match, both teams still need to address shoring up their defenses in the next several weeks if they are to qualify for the CIF Southern Section playoffs in November.
"Defense has been one of our stronger points," said Garcia, who graduated from Glendale High in 2000. "We are one of those on-and-off teams in some matches because they get so intimidated because they think they can't play up to standards.
"We want a winning record and a top three or four spot in league, but we still have a lot to work on."
Jung, who graduated from Hoover in 2004, said the Tornadoes played aggressively. That resulted in a share of fouls being called against the Tornadoes.
"I thought we played better in the first half, but we still have a ways to go," Jung said. "I expect Luka to set the tone for the guys.
"If they don't play well, then he doesn't play well."
Martinovic, a senior utility player who scored 42 goals in four matches to help Hoover win the consolation championship of the Western Tournament in September, scored four consecutive goals in the second quarter to give the Tornadoes a 9-6 lead.
Burroughs continued to battle back, however, tying the match at 10 on a goal by Peyton with 6:35 left in the third quarter.