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Glendale boys’ water polo pulls away from Ocean View to advance to second round

Glendale boys’ water polo pulls away from Ocean View to advance to second round
Ocean View High's Nico Falcon, pictured saving a shot against Fountain Valley on Sept. 12, 2017, made 14 saves in the Seahawks' 8-3 loss to Glendale in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs on Tuesday. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

The last shot before halftime was almost a spectacular goal for the Ocean View High boys’ water polo team.

Almost.

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Senior goalkeeper Nico Falcon’s full-court shot hit off the crossbar and didn’t go in Tuesday, as the Seahawks hosted Glendale in the first round of the CIF Southern Section 5 playoffs. This was one of several near-misses for Ocean View, whose season ended after the Nitros earned an 8-3 victory.

Glendale (18-11) will return to Orange County on Thursday, when the Nitros play at No. 3-seeded El Dorado (20-7) in the second round. For Glendale’s seniors, Tuesday marked the first postseason victory in their four years with the program.

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“The last time we had CIF success was five years ago [when we won the Division 5 title in 2013],” said Glendale senior Hike Pashayan, who had a goal and a team-best four steals against Ocean View. “I definitely think we might be able to make a run. Our team is pretty good this year, defensively and offensively. We have all of the tools to win CIF. It’s just a matter of actually doing it.”

Sophomore center Gevork Karapetyan got the Nitros going early against Ocean View (13-14), scoring both of the team’s first-half goals. Up 2-1 at halftime, Glendale got goals from Arno Tatos, Leo Grossman, Stephan Karapetyan and Pashayan during a third-quarter blitz that gave the visitors a 6-1 advantage.

Glendale, which got 12 saves from junior goalkeeper Ronald George, was on its way to avenging a 7-6 loss to Ocean View at the Diamond Bar tournament on Sept. 22.

“If I’m being honest, we played pretty bad that tournament,” Pashayan said. “We picked things up this time around. They got us the first time, and we got them this time when it actually counted, in CIF.”

Seniors Daniel Isogawa and Will Boyd, as well as junior Sean Headley, each scored one goal each for Ocean View. Isogawa added four steals.

Isogawa scored in the first quarter for the Seahawks, but they couldn’t score again until Headley’s counterattack goal with 6:04 remaining in the match.

“We did a good job of setting people up, getting some good opportunities,” Ocean View coach Melissa Fernandez said. “Unfortunately, it was one of those days where the shots aren’t falling. That’s tough, but I mean, Glendale did a really good job. They play strong, they play physical. They really made us work for it.”

Falcon shined in the cage, making 14 saves.

“We had to keep it low-scoring, because that was such a high-powered offense,” Fernandez said. “He made some huge saves for us. He’s also gotten a lot smarter about leading our counterattack and outlet passes.”

Isogawa and Falcon each have been four-year varsity starters for Ocean View. They helped the Seahawks win the Golden West League regular-season title this year, before losing 27-8 to Segerstrom in the league tournament title match last Thursday at Garden Grove High.

Fernandez said that match was tied 2-2 late in the first quarter when Isogawa suffered a cut above his eye. He was sidelined for the remainder of the contest.

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