Burbank girls' water polo holds of La Canada

BURBANK HIGH — Having both earned victories in the first round of pool play in the Burbank Tournament on Thursday, the La Canada High and Burbank girls' water polo teams came into their second-round match with definite momentum.

Although the Bulldogs were able to jump out to an early lead, the Spartans battled back to tie the score. However, after it was tested, Burbank responded with a stingy defensive effort in the second half in which it surrendered just two goals.

Led by two goals each from Abby Glaessner and Ryan Bettencourt, the Bulldogs recorded a 7-5 victory to advance to the championship round of its own tournament.

The Spartans and Bulldogs already had a history this season, having played a nonleague game Nov. 29. In that contest, Burbank won a defensive battle, 5-3.

“We had played them before and we beat them and I think the girls might have gotten a little overconfident early in the game,” said Burbank first-year Coach Kristina Garcia, whose team defeated Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 10-9, earlier in the tournament. “And I think we got a little lazy and we started thinking, ‘Oh, we can get a little lazy and we can get away with it.’“

The Bulldogs began the match by shutting out the Spartans, 2-0, in the first quarter. The Burbank defense allowed La Cañada just three shots in the stanza. The Spartans were also hampered by seven turnovers in the first.

Burbank got on the board when Glaessner scored with 5:34 left on a man-advantage. The Bulldogs made it 2-0 when Bettencourt found the back to the cage with 3:07 remaining.

“It’s important for us to do well no matter where we play, but it’s more important to do well in our home pool,” said Glaessner, who was moved from hole-set to hole-guard this season. “We want to showcase our abilities and how we’re growing as a team. To do well in our own tournament means the world to us.”

The Bulldogs took a 3-0 advantage with 4:58 left in the second quarter on a man-advantage goal by Seika Ha.

Five of the first 10 goals scored in the match came on man-advantages.

After Ha’s goal, the Spartans’ Shelby Powell scored to get La Cañada its first tally. But the Bulldogs responded by getting a score from Giuliana Vitagliano to go up, 4-1.

That seemed to wake up the Spartans, as they received consecutive goals from Powell and Emily Hoffman to claw their way to within one, 4-3.

That’s how the first half ended.

La Cañada kept up the momentum early in the third quarter and when Miranda Mora scored with 2:25 left, the Spartans knotted the score at 4.

“I thought we played well,” La Cañada Coach Kristen Dronberger said. “After that first quarter we got the cobwebs out and we started playing a lot better. There are definitely things we need to work on, like our six-on-five offense.”

Late in the third, Burbank tacked on goals from Loosine Boghosian and Bettencourt.

Glaessner tacked on her second goal with 2:33 left in the fourth to give the Bulldogs a three-goal cushion. Masha Karolina tallied a late score for the Spartans.

La Cañada won its opening tournament match against Flintridge Sacred Heart, 8-5.

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