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Flintridge Prep leads pack of area water polo teams in Burbank Tournament

Flintridge Prep leads pack of area water polo teams in Burbank Tournament
Coach Andrew Phillips and the the Flintridge Prep girls' water polo team advanced to the Bronze Division championship match of the Burbank Tournament. (File Photo)

BURBANK — On a Saturday morning in which five of the area’s girls’ water polo teams sought to gain experience at the 2018 Burbank Tournament, Flintridge Prep had the best showing.

The Rebels reached the Bronze Division championship match where they faced San Marino. Flintridge Prep kept it close in what was a one-goal contest in the second half.

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But San Marino scored 10 unanswered goals and claimed the ninth-placed match with a 13-2 win over Flintridge Prep at Burbank High.

“We came in to this tournament not really expecting anything — just to get our experience up,” said Flintridge Prep coach Andrew Phillips, whose team finished 10th in the tournament. “We saw situations, we recognized them and hopefully we can learn from it and I felt like we have.”

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Also in the division were hosts Burbank and Burroughs, while Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Hoover High battled in the Copper Division at Burroughs High.

The Rebels, who split two matches in pool play, stayed within a goal with San Marino for a 2-1 halftime deficit, before the two traded goals early in the third.

“It was our response to adversity,” said Phillips on the San Marino scoring spurt. “They score a goal against us, so how do we respond? We responded by feeling sorry for ourselves and not attacking on the opposite end. But every team goes through it so it’s not a big deal. We’ll get over the hump.”

Lara Friedman and Natalie Kaplanyan scored the two lone goals for Flintridge Prep.

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Flintridge Prep (3-2) defeated the host Bulldogs in the opening match of the day after the Rebels pulled away in the second quarter for a 6-3 lead they did not relinquish, resulting in a 6-5 win after two late Burbank goals.

In the morning’s Bronze Division consolation bracket, host Burbank (3-4) took on rival Burroughs in match that saw two last-minute goals to send the 11th-place match into overtime.

Bulldogs senior Michelle Murlock sealed the 6-5 Burbank win early in overtime with a sudden-death goal in that landed in the corner of the net.

“There’s a lot of positives,” Burbank interim coach Zack Card said. “We played really good drop-defense, our counter-attack was looking pretty strong and our drives, for the most part, were good.

“But we just need to be more aggressive, and I think that’s an issue with the team all the way through.”

Burroughs (2-4) dropped both of its Bronze Division matches, which included an 11-0 loss to eventual Bronze Division champions San Marino prior to the Burbank match.

Indians coach Jacob Cook acknowledged his team’s lack of game awareness and defensive communication that needs improvement.

“That’s what these tournaments are for,” Cook said. “Our more experienced players weren’t here today because of SATs or illness, so it was a good opportunity for our bench players to get some solid game time in.”

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At Burroughs High, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and Hoover High both notched wins in the Copper Division.

The Tologs (2-4) started the day with a 5-2 win against Hoover and ended their back-to-back run with a 6-4 victory against Torrance.

“We’re a very young varsity team, so for us to see the quality of good teams and the lower realm of good teams, we find ourselves in good situations,” Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy coach Carlos Ponce said.

Ponce was without his leading scorers, Amanda Ramirez and Sara Khoury.

“The girls were able to step up,” Ponce said. “The last game they felt pretty gassed off of back-to-back games, it’s pretty tough, so for them to pull those out, that’ll work for us.”

The Tornadoes (2-8) bounced back from their opening match loss to defeat Torrance without the help of senior utility Mariam Manukyan.

“This team is working on their confidence and that’s what we lack the most,” Hoover coach Nikki De Leon said. “Manukyan plays a big role in giving them that confidence and I think that was our struggle the first game.

“And, in the second game, they went in and they realized they could have won it, but they were just holding themselves back, so they went in that game giving it all they had.”

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Burbank and Hoover went winless in pool play.

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