BURROUGHS HIGH — The Burroughs High and South Pasadena boys’ water polo teams entered their nonleague match Thursday both missing key players.
The Indians were without top scorer, Danny Mairano, who was ruled ineligible earlier in the week after failing a class during the summer session.
Tigers Coach Robert Echeverria elected to bench his starters in the beginning of the contest, saying “the effort just hasn’t been there” with the group of players.
That left the door open for Burroughs, which got off to an early lead. However, after the Indians held an advantage in the third quarter, South Pasadena came on in the fourth quarter, scoring three straight goals to pave the way for an 8-6 victory.
Despite notching the win, Echeverria didn’t have a lot of positive things to say about his team’s performance.
“We are trying to make a team and we’re going to play the guys who want to play,” said Echeverria, whose team is ranked No. 9 in CIF Southern Section Division III. “If these guys don’t want to take advantage of the playing time, and if they don’t want to give the effort, I’m not afraid to lose every game.
“This is probably one of the strongest team’s that I’ve coached, but it is also one of the most difficult because they have the talent. Once they figure things out they are going to be very tough to stop.”
From the Burroughs perspective, Coach Danny Garcia said he was pleased with the way his squad played against the Tigers (1-0).
“We fought hard against a very good team,” said Garcia, whose team is 1-1. “But we made some silly ejections and that cost us. But we were right there with them the whole time and I think we gave them a tough fight.”
The teams were tied at 5 after three quarters. However, the Tigers grabbed the momentum early in the fourth stanza and the Indians couldn’t wrestle it back.
South Pasadena tallied three consecutive goals, one from Adrian Suarez and two from David Liu, the last coming at 3:30, to grab an 8-5 lead.
Burroughs was able to fight back and whittle the deficit to two when Max Young scored with 2:55 remaining after a South Pasadena kickout.
The Indians had an opportunity to cut the advantage to one when they had a man advantage with 1:30 left. However, a shot banked off the crossbar and the Tigers took possession.
Suarez and Liu tallied three goals each for the Tigers.
“South Pasadena is very aggressive and they are very physical,” Garcia said. “We need to play those kinds of teams to get us ready for our league.”
Burroughs was able to keep things close thanks in part to the play of goalkeeper Dillon Weigand, who ended with nine saves. In the first quarter, Weigand made saves on two Tigers man-advantage situations, as South Pasadena wasn’t able to capitalize on four opportunities.
That helped Burroughs enjoy a 2-1 lead after one quarter. But the Tigers came back to outscore the Indians, 2-1, in the second, as the score was knotted at three at halftime.
Casey Ueno had three goals and Oscar Hernandez added two for Burroughs.