Burbank boys' water polo can't win season opener

SAN MARINO — With Labor Day over it was time to jump into the pool and get down to business as Burbank High opened its boys' water polo season on the road against San Marino in a nonleague contest.

The Bulldogs started strong in Coach Zeb Jenkins' debut as head coach, but a stronger second quarter by the home team gave the lead to the Titans for good, as Burbank fell, 12-8, Tuesday afternoon.

"This was the first game of the season, so I'm not worried about it," Jenkins said. "I've got a lot of good guys."

In addition to the home pool advantage, the Titans had nine substitutes, while the Bulldogs, who were missing several players due to slow moving paperwork, had just four.

"I had a couple of guys who could not play today and that hurt us most," said Jenkins, whose missing players included starting senior utility Robert Mheryan.

Burbank's Dante Nazarian's scored the first two goals of this year's campaign for a quick 2-0 advantage. The first was a skip shot at 1:07 in and the second came as the senior cleaned up a rebound by punching the ball in with 4:05 left.

However, the Titans netted the next three goals to surge ahead before sophomore driver Arthur Mheryan scored on a long shot to tie it at 3.

Nazarian than added his third first-quarter goal on a 5-meter penalty shot with 1:19 to go. The teams traded goals in the final minute leaving the Bulldogs clinging to a 5-4 advantage after the first quarter.

"Basically, since this is my last year I want to give it all I have and be the best I can be because your senior year is only once," Nazarian said.

The Titans consistently got behind the Bulldogs' defense and, when Titan junior Max Miller intercepted a pass thrown backward intended for goalkeeper Derek Baer and scored on him point-blank for his second goal of the second, the home team took a 9-5 lead into halftime.

"When we got here I knew some of [the Titans] played from the Rose Bowl, so I knew the match wasn't going to be too easy," said Nazarian, who was in the pool when the Bulldogs beat San Marino, 21-8, last season.

Nazarian finished with five goals.

Burbank scored the first two goals of the third quarter to close the gap. Artur Mheryan assisted David Kennedy on the first and Nazarian netted the next one from in close to pull within two. However, senior Titan Derek Wang scored with 16 seconds left to give the Titans some breathing room at 10-7 after three quarters.

San Marino's Alessio Brunochelli scored his fifth goal with just over two minutes left for the first score of the final period. Nazarian followed with another successful penalty shot for his final goal, but Titan Nick Lakon netted his second of the match for the contest's final goal.

"We have a lot of work to do," Jenkins said, "and we'll go from here."

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