BURBANK — With the Glendale High and Burroughs girls' water polo teams undefeated in their first two respective Pacific League matches, Tuesday's league contest between the teams provided an opportunity for one to create separation.
It took until the final minute for a gap to be created.
Sam Buliavac capped her five-goal scoring performance with a five-meter goal with 43 seconds left to give host Burroughs a 7-6 victory.
Burroughs improved to 15-2, 3-0 in league and maintained a first-place tie with Crescenta Valley, which posted a 21-10 win against host Pasadena on Tuesday. Glendale dropped to 10-7, 2-1 and is in third place.
"There was a little pressure on me to score there," said Buliavac, who launched a hard shot that eluded Glendale goalkeeper Marquita Lopez-Engelman after a Glendale defender was ejected for fouling Burroughs' Violeta Oganeysan. "I knew I had to score and I didn't want to think about it.
"We've been picking it up even more the past week in our practices because we knew this would be a tough game. It was a tough and very physical game."
After Buliavac gave the Indians a 6-5 lead with 6:40 left in the fourth quarter, Glendale knotted it at 6 on a goal by Jacqueline Jones with 4:15 remaining. The teams swapped scoring chances, but couldn't solve Lopez-Engelman and Ahasha Earwood, who both excelled in the cage.
The Nitros were then called for an infraction, leading to Buliavac's five-meter goal.
"It's the right call by the referee and a textbook call," said Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook, whose team is ranked seventh in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll. "[Oganesyan] had the inside position.
"We came into this game and saw this as a challenge. Burroughs had beaten Burbank and we beat Burbank. I was encouraged to see the way we competed."
Buliavac scored a pair of goals midway through the first quarter to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. Glendale cut the deficit to 2-1 on a man-advantage goal by Biyouregh Boghozian with 5:31 left in the second quarter. Daisy Hernandez restored Burroughs' two-goal lead at the 4:12 mark before the Nitros rattled off three goals in a row to grab a 4-3 halftime advantage.
Desiree Ivett Garcia Solano brought the Nitros to within 3-2 with 3:58 left before Veronica Sovakian tied it at 3 with 50 seconds left in the first half. Garcia Solano then lifted a shot over the outstretched left arm of Earwood to score as time expired to give Glendale the lead at half.
The Nitros made it 5-3 on a goal by Garcia Solano with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter. However, Burroughs, ranked eighth in the division, received one goal apiece from Buliavac and Savannah Simmons in the final 69 seconds of the quarter to tie it at 5.
"We had a hard time with a lot of our shots from the outside," said Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia, who got 17 saves from Earwood. "That put us in a hard place.
"It's a huge win for us in what was a very physical game. Glendale was aggressive in every single spot. We got that big goal in the end from Sam."
Lopez-Engelman notched 10 saves.