BURROUGHS HIGH — Burbank High boys’ water polo coach Carlos Pelayo wasn’t exactly honest with his team prior to Wednesday’s match against Burroughs.
Although there was likely a chance his Bulldogs could finish fourth in the Pacific League regular season even if they lost, the coach didn’t tell that to his group.
“I told them they had to win to get fourth place,” Pelayo said. “I didn’t want to take any chances.”
Burbank did gain the win, 9-6, but had to hold off a surging Indians squad in the second half to do so, playing solid defense in the fourth quarter of the contest at Burroughs High.
With the Bulldogs (3-3 in league) holding a 7-3 lead at halftime, the Indians came on in the third quarter, outscoring their opponent, 3-0, to cut the lead to just one, 7-6. Indians’ Daniel Marina had three goals in the quarter.
“I thought our guys played hard, and they really did a good job at coming back in the third,” Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia said. “The last time we played [Burbank] they dominated us in the second half and they won pretty big. To cut the loss to single digits this time shows how much we’ve improved.”
The Bulldogs were led by Sam Akopian, who had three goals. Teammates Kevin Miller, Dimitar Tantchev and Zach Card added two goals each.
After the first quarter ended in a 1-1 tie, Burroughs actually held a 2-1 lead in the second quarter with 3:16 left on a goal by Jon Marino. But the Bulldogs came clawing back, tallying the next five goals to jump out in front, 6-2, at the half.
Sam Akopian and Card scored goals for Burbank in the fourth quarter, as the Bulldogs’ defense tightened and goalkeeper Jonas Padervinskas came up with some big saves. Padervinskas had seven blocks, and shut out Burroughs, in the fourth quarter.
Marina paced the Indians with three goals, while Kevin Ueno had two and Martin Ortega had one.