Burbank water polo recover in time, defeats Arcadia, 20-8

BURBANK HIGH — For a moment, the visiting Arcadia High boys’ water polo team was competitive with Burbank, the sixth-ranked squad in CIF Southern Section Division V.

And for a time, Burbank had grown lackadaisical.

But when first-year Bulldogs Coach Kristina Garcia began subbing in players off the bench, the team took notice, turning in a second stanza of pure dominance that quickly turned Thursday afternoon’s Pacific League tilt into an overwhelming rout, as the Bulldogs won easily, 20-8, against the Apaches.

“After the first quarter, things that needed to be done, the team stood up and they took on that powerful role,” said Garcia, whose team improved to 11-6, 3-2 in league, good enough for second place in the league standings along with Crescenta Valley, which defeated Pasadena (2-3 in league) on Thursday.

While first-place Glendale (5-0 in league) has been dominant, the rest of the league is still in a tight predicament heading into the final week before the league tournament. Burroughs (2-2 in league), Hoover (2-3 in league) and Pasadena (2-3 in league) could all be vying for the fourth and final league playoff slot, while neither Burbank and CV have mathematically clinched a slot in the final four.

Burbank will have to do so with a win on Wednesday against Burroughs, which must still also play Pasadena.

“I wish we had more games going in,” said Garcia, whose team has just its rivalry matchup with the Indians next week before the prelims. “I wish we had more competition going into the league prelims.”

On Thursday, though, Burbank didn’t start out like a team looking past an overmatched Arcadia (0-5 in league), as Dante Nazarian scored consecutive goals to open the match with Zach Card and Sean Savoy following with single tallies to put the Bulldogs ahead, 4-0, less than three minutes into the match.

Suddenly, though, Arcadia had cut the score to 4-3, as Kevin Fry, who scored a match-high six goals, scored three times in a span of one minute 55 seconds. Just as suddenly, though, the Bulldogs awoke from their slumber, ignited by a pair of Card goals in the first quarter’s final 27 seconds.

Following an Arcadia score to begin the second quarter, Burbank ran roughshod to the tune of seven consecutive goals to end the half with an insurmountable 13-4 halftime lead after an emphatic run of dominating defense and opportunistic offense.

“The first quarter, our intensity was pretty high,” said Savoy, a co-captain along with Card. “We came in with high hopes and then, once we scored those goals right off the bat, we kind of knew we had this locked in and then, I guess, we kind of got sluggish.

“Then we stepped it up even more.”

Card let the resurgence, much as he’s been prone to do throughout the season for the Bulldogs, but the offense was more balanced than usual, with six Bulldogs scoring —  all with multiple tallies.

“Obviously, Zach always starts us off, but today we had a lot of goal scorers,” Savoy said. “We always rely on Zach and Dante as our main scorers … but we’re always trying to work on our team [balance].”

Card matched Fry’s eight goals to lead Burbank, while Savoy tallied four scores. Nazarian and Daniel Gonzalez each notched three and Patrick Vertani and Shane Pentkowski had two each.

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