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Burroughs boys’ water polo fends off Burbank surge in league match

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Burroughs High boys’ water polo players celebrate after defeating host Burbank on Wednesday in a Pacific League match.
(Raul Roa/Burbank Leader)

BURBANK — The Burroughs High boys’ water polo team shut out rival Burbank and had a four-goal lead in the first quarter of their Pacific League match on Wednesday.

It looked as if the Indians were going to steamroll the host Bulldogs, but a fiery team talk in between quarters saw host Burbank climb back to tie the score at the half.

However, Burroughs came out of the halftime break to score three consecutive goals on its way to a 20-7 victory against rival Burbank and finish off the regular season on a high note.

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Burbank High School water polo player Pavel Tantchev got away from the defense and scored in home game vs. Burroughs High School, in Burbank on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

“I knew it was temporary, but it was frustrating to say the least,” Burroughs coach Jacob Cook said. “The sun was terrible on our side so we could barely see our players and it was just frustrating. I knew they would pull it together.

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“We just yelled at them a little bit on the stuff they got complacent on. We just rallied them for the second half. We’re just hoping that next week we can just get it together and we don’t have to deal with any of that.”

Burroughs (11-6, 4-2 in league) was powered by Vahagan Sahakyan with nine goals, seven of which came in the second half. Indians sophomore Xavier Turla added six goals and seven assists.

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Burroughs High School water polo player Chet Conlan takes a shot on goal in away game vs. Burbank High School, in Burbank on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Grigor Gasabian and Jonathan Agazaryan each scored twice for Burbank. Bulldogs goalkeeper Sarkis Terpetrossyan had two assists.

The Indians started the match with a goal from Ryan Jaramillo to take the 1-0 lead at 5:16 in the first. Turla added a pair of goals in a span of 90 seconds before Sahakyan capped the scoring in the opening quarter for a 4-0 lead.

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Sahakyan opened the second quarter with a goal with 23 seconds gone, but the Bulldogs (5-12, 1-5) scored five straight as Agazaryan and Gasabian each scored twice in the quarter.

With 19 seconds left in the half, Agazaryan scored from distance to tie the match at 5.

“I think, overall in the first half, we were very cocky in the beginning,” Turla said. “We weren’t being fundamentally sound and we were just letting them play us instead of us playing them.”

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Burbank High School water polo player Jonathan Agazaryan battles for the ball in home game vs. Burroughs High School, in Burbank on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Sahakyan gave Burroughs the 6-5 lead early in the third quarter, and an own goal from Agazaryan made it a two-goal lead for Burroughs at 5:23.

Burroughs led, 9-5, following goals from Sahakyan and Turla before Kouroush Dolatshani scored Burbank’s first goal in the second half with 2:42 remaining in the third.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t responding to their counters,” Burbank coach Mike Lucero said. “They were killing us on that. We were in the game and then they just kept scoring off of every counter. We were moving more and running the plays that they were supposed to run.

Sahakyan scored twice to cap his four-goal third quarter and Avo Barsegyan added another score for Burbank as Burroughs led, 12-7, at the end of the third.

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Burbank High School water polo player Jonathan Agazaryan takes a no-look shot and scores to even the score at 5 all in home game vs. Burroughs High School, in Burbank on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

Turla scored three times in the final quarter and Burroughs tallied eight goals and shut out Burbank in the fourth quarter to close out the league regular-season campaign.

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“We just wanted to go off,” Turla said. “We decided to do more post-ups and that worked. We just started countering more and that worked, and then we shut down [Agazaryan] — one of their main players — and that worked for us.”

Both teams now gear their focus for the Pacific League Tournament, which begins Tuesday and concludes Oct. 31 at Arcadia High.

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Burroughs High School water polo player Xavier Turla takes a shot on goal in away game vs. Burbank High School, in Burbank on Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

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