Three Burbank water polo players earn All-CIF honors

In the aftermath of a season that was one of the program's most successful ever, the Burbank High boys' water polo team was rewarded for its accomplishment with three selections to the All-CIF Southern Section Division V team.

Senior standout Zack Card was a first-team selection, while fellow senior co-captain Sean Savoy was a second-team pick and goalkeeper Derek Baer nabbed a third-team spot, with the selections officially released Monday.

“That was my goal,” said Card, who heard about his selection on Friday, of making the All-CIF team. “I think it's really set in how awesome it is that I was chosen.

“I was really excited.”

Card boasted team-highs in goals, assists and steals, as he was clearly a catalyst on both sides of the ball, as the Bulldogs finished second in the Pacific League before defeating Arlington in the opening round of the playoffs to advance to the quarterfinals.

“Offensively, he was there when we needed him,” first-year Burbank Coach Kristina Garcia said. “Defensively, he was just smart. He knew where to be.

“He was an all-around player.”

Card tallied 61 goals on the season, 18 more than anybody else on the team, as his shot was one of the most dangerous in the area and the division. According to Garcia, his goal tally would’ve been larger, but during a handful of nonleague games against overmatched competition, Card took a step back in favor of setting up scores for teammates and giving way to players on the bench during lopsided matches.

“He’s the type of player that he doesn’t need goals in those games,” Garcia said. “He’ll get those assists and he’ll want others guys to play.”

And against the majority of the Bulldogs’ toughest opposition, Card was usually the center of the opponent’s defensive game plan, but still managed to contribute in ways other than scoring goals.

“They'd have [usually] two guys on me, so usually that left somebody else open,” Card said. “That was my goal toward the end of the season was to set up my teammates to score. ... They did a really good job of that by the end of the year.”

He finished with 34 assists, a team-high 11 field blocks and tied Savoy for the team-high with 52 steals.

“I think Sean was our best defensive player,” Garcia said. “He was able to steal like no other, he was able to block like no other.”

Savoy had nine field blocks and added 38 goals and 24 assists.

Garcia said Baer improved leaps and bounds from the beginning of the season to the end, particularly garnering notice against league rival Crescenta Valley, when he notched 10 saves, including some dramatic point-blank stops, in a Pacific League Tournament first-round matchup to help the Bulldogs to a win.

“That’s when he really started to stand out,” Garcia said. “He definitely did improve immensely.”

Baer finished the season with 123 saves, 24 assists and 16 steals.

Card was also a first-team All-Pacific League selection, as was Savoy.

Baer earned second-team recognition, along with Bulldogs junior Dante Nazarian, who had 43 goals, 24 assists and 41 steals. Daniel Gonzalez was bestowed honorable mention, garnering 18 goals, eight assists and 11 steals.

Burroughs, which took fourth in the Pacific League and won its Division V wild-card matchup before falling in the first round, had two Pacific League honorees. Daniel Mairena was a first-team selection with 52 goals and 13 steals, while Casey Ueno was honorable mention, tallying 77 goals, 16 assists, 65 steals and 27 field blocks.

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