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Bulldogs water polo outdone in fourth

SAN MARINO — A well-played championship game between the boys’ water polo teams from Burbank High and El Segundo, that was decided in the final minutes, served as the grand finale for the 2012 San Marino Varsity Tournament that wrapped up Saturday afternoon.

The Bulldogs won the tournament last season and were in the hunt for consecutive tournament championships as they led early in the fourth quarter, but surrendered the lead seconds later to the Eagles, who never relinquished it, and went on to win, 10-9.

El Segundo’s Parker Blacksten scored the final goal for the Eagles with 1:01 remaining in the contest. The goal from the right wing put the Eagles up, 10-8, and proved to be crucial after the Bulldogs scored a goal with 35 seconds remaining and came one more goal shy of tying the match.

An intentional shot clock violation left Burbank with just four seconds on the game clock, and unable to get a shot off.


“This was a big, tough game,” said Bulldogs assistant coach Zeb Jenkins, who replaced coach Kristina Garcia at the helm for this game due to scheduling issues. “We have a lot of work to do, but they are a great team. I’m proud of these guys.”

The match was tightly contested throughout, as the two teams were tied at four after the second quarter and knotted at seven after the third.

Burbank’s Dante Nazarian’s third goal of the game with 5:55 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Bulldogs an 8-7 edge.

Blacksten’s goal 32 seconds later tied up the score for the sixth time, and it would be the final tie score, as the Eagles held off the Bulldogs to win the tournament.


Burbank’s Daniel Gonzalez scored the game’s first goal after nearly five minutes of El Segundo goalie Brendan Tague blocking every shot the Bulldogs attempted.

As was the trend throughout the match, however, the Bulldogs gave up the game-tying goal — the first coming from John Combs. Toby Contary’s goal with under a minute left in the first gave the Eagles their first lead.

A pair of goals from Nazarian midway through the second quarter gave Burbank the lead again in a match that had five lead changes. The Bulldogs didn’t relinquish the lead from that point until the 2:39 mark of the third quarter.

Until Blacksten’s goal late in the fourth quarter, the largest lead by any team until that point was a 7-5 Burbank advantage, which was soon erased by a pair of El Segundo goals that resulted in the title game being decided in the fourth.

“[El Segundo] is a good team, and we played hard,” Jenkins said. “It was a great game.”