The Burroughs High boys’ water polo team made history in 2016 when it captured a CIF Southern Section Division V championship.
But since that historic accomplishment, the Indians have competed in higher divisions and playoff success has been hard to come by.
In 2017, Burroughs was put in Division III and fell in the second round of the playoffs to Dos Puebelos, 18-11, after earning a win against Beckman in the first round.
In 2018, the Indians were knocked out in the first round of the Division IV playoffs by Carpinteria, 8-6.
However, Burroughs’ playoff expectations for the 2019 campaign rose greatly when it was moved down to Division V following the latest realignment by the CIF office.
“We’re back in [Division] V again and that’s where we won the championship,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “So we are looking to go pretty far in CIF this year.”
Burbank hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2014. The Bulldogs are looking to halt that trend under new coach Mike Lucero.
Here is a closer look at the teams.
The Indians are coming off a season in which they went 13-10, 5-4 to tie for third in the Pacific League with Crescenta Valley.
Hoover captured the league championship and Arcadia was runner-up.
“I’m guessing that Hoover is going to be good in our league again this year. But I think Crescenta Valley should be strong as well, because they always put together a good team” Cook said. “And you can’t forget about Arcadia. They have been building up and they looked good last year.
“It’s going to be a tough league, but we are hoping to do well.”
The Indians have the advantage of having two goalkeepers who they will rely on in seniors Arthur Eldridge and David Karagezyan.
“It’s good to be able to have two goalies that we can use,” Cook said. “It gives us options in games and it’s great because we have two goalies for team scrimmages.”
Also looked on to contribute are sophomore attacker/utility Xavier Turla, senior utility Vahagn Sahakyan senior attacker Chet Conlan and senior attacker Tobey Ho.
In 2018, the Bulldogs went 8-10 and 1-7 to finish sixth in the Pacific League, failing to make the playoffs.
However, with a new coaching staff and an enthusiastic group, Burbank is hoping to return to the postseason.
“We haven’t made playoffs in a good four or five years and that’s not a good thing,” said assistant coach Varuzhan Bilbulyan, a former Bulldogs player. “That is a goal for us to be able to make it back to the playoffs. I know all the guys will be pushing for that.
This group wants to create that chance to go to the playoffs this year. We lost some players to graduation, but we do have some returners.”
The assistant coach said the Bulldogs have been putting in the time to hone their skills and set themselves up for success.
“In past years, you see some player slacking and really not doing all the hard work that they should be doing,” Bilbulyan said. “But since this coaching staff has come in, as we have three coaches, you really see everyone working harder and putting in the work to get better. And the coaching staff is on top of everything.
“When I can into the job, I didn’t expect that we were going to do very well, but these past few months have really changed my mind and they are shocking me with their workouts. It’s amazing to see for sure.”
Returning to help lead the Bulldogs in the quest for a playoff berth is senior goalkeeper Sarkis Ter-Petrossian.
Other impact players are expected to be senior utility Kourosh Dolatshahi, sophomore utility Jonathan Agazaryan and sophomore hole-set Robert Kharazyan.
Like Cook, Bilbulyan said he expects Hoover to be a major force in the Pacific League.
“Hoover is always going to be good and they always have those [Olympic Reserves Water Polo Club] guys,” Bilbulyan said. “I played with a lot of those guys growing up and I still play with some of those guys, so they are always going to be a talented group that is well coached.
“But I know every other team will be trying to beat them and knock them off this season. We just need a good game plan and we have to work hard against them.”