Burbank girls' water polo downs rival Burroughs in tourney finale

In the final day of play at the fifth annual Burbank High School girls’ varsity water polo tournament, both the Bulldogs and Burroughs had notable success, although it was the hosts who had a little better time of it when it was said and done.

“I know the girls are happy,” Burroughs first-year coach Michael Singhanate said. “They’re not as happy as they’d like to be, but they’re happy.”

Both squads won their first games on Saturday in matchups of the four third-place finishers in their respective pools, which matched Burbank and Burroughs up in what turned out to be an exciting matchup for both, as the Bulldogs triumphed, 5-4, in sudden-death overtime against the Indians to wrap up the tournament.

“That was a tough one. It’s fun because they are our cross-town rival,” first-year Burbank coach Allison Young, who is a Burroughs graduate, said. “We’d been talking to [Burroughs] all day about what if we played you and we were definitely out to win.”

The extra period did not last long. Bulldog Ryan Bettencourt was tasked with winning the opening sprint, but could not. Instead the senior stole the ball from two Indians, swam the length of the pool and put in a shot from close range for the win just 14 seconds after the extra period had begun.

“I'm under a lot of pressure being the sprinter,” Bettencourt said, “and when I realized I wasn’t going to get the ball I was like, ‘Oh my gosh...’ [But once I got the ball] I was nervous, so I was like go, go, go. And I felt as I got near to the goal I could feel the girl behind me, so I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is my only chance, pick up the ball and shoot it,’ and I shot it.”

Burroughs held a 4-2 advantage with 4:44 left in regulation when Burbank was awarded a five-meter penalty shot, which Lala Herpetian blasted past Indians goalkeeper Kate Wilke into the right side of the cage to pull within one. Shortly after, Wilke made a save on a point-blank shot to preserve the advantage. Burroughs then hit the corner of the cage with a shot and got the rebound. The Indians called their only timeout allowed in the game to set up a play, but after working the ball around, Wilke made a save on a long shot. 

Burbank soon used its timeout with 1:48 left, but could not get an insurance goal. Not long after, an Indians player was given an exclusion, but failed to leave in a timely manner, leading the officials to award another five-meter shot, which Herpetian once again converted to tie the contest at 4. 

The Indians had a chance to win the game in regulation when Indian Cami Christopher broke free behind the Bulldogs defense and was fouled, resulting in a five-meter penalty shot for Burroughs, this time with just five ticks left on the clock. However, Bulldogs goalkeeper Kristine Khachikian made one of her 12 saves and knocked the shot down to force overtime.

“I haven’t seen that many five-meters in a game, really,” Singhanate said. “Seeing it in this one was a little frustrating.” 

Despite the frustrating loss to finish the day, Burroughs (1-10) did achieve something significant, as the Indians beat Marymount, 9-3, in the school’s first game of the day, marking the Indians’ first win of the season and first under Singhanate.

“It was a definite morale booster for the girls, definitely needed it,” Singhanate said. “They changed the way they played. We’re missing a lot of good players right now, but we’ve worked some different offenses. We’re still working on the individual skills. It’s the individual skills that are really holding us back right now.” 

In the win over Marymount, Indian Corrine Ciani led the way with five goals, including three of the last four her team scored.

The Bulldogs (3-4), who had also picked up their first win of the season at the tournament on Thursday in their opening game, started play on Saturday with an 8 a.m. game against Arcadia. The Bulldogs were able to overcome their fellow Pacific League member, 8-5. Burbank’s Loosine Boghosian was the team leader with three goals. Herpetian scored two.



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