Falcons attack in first quarter

Gabriel Rizk

LA CRESCENTA — After using the first half as a showcase for its multifaceted scoring ability, there was little left for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ water polo team to prove in the second half.

While there’s certain to be some tougher challenges ahead for the defending Pacific League-champion Falcons, there will be plenty of instances in which they simply overpower their opponent from the get-go, as was the case in Wednesday’s 14-3 nonleague home rout of San Marino.

Kim Fraisse and Olivia Trimis scored four goals each for Crescenta Valley, Taylor Kuh and Claire Nolan added three more apiece, and the Falcons defense was dominant, holding the Titans without a goal from the 3:50 mark of the first quarter until the 4:35 mark of the final quarter.

The first-half scoring blitz included goals from near and far, in transition and out of the set offense, alike.

“We try to play pressure defense, that’s our main priority, and then push the tempo of the game,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Pete Loporchio, whose team opened with a strong pressing attack. “But other times, we have two or three solid sets and Olivia and Kim and Taylor shot very well from the perimeter today.

“That’s really been the mark of this team — finding different ways to score.”

Crescenta Valley opened the game with back-to-back steals by Christine Cho, the first of which was cashed in for a breakaway goal by Fraisse.

The Falcons went up, 2-1, when Kuh scored on a Fraisse pass before coming up with steals on the next two San Marino possessions.

On the second of her consecutive takeaways, Kuh dished to Fraisse for another transition goal and a 3-1 lead.

Crescenta Valley ended the first quarter up, 6-1, on two quick turnaround goals by Trimis, assisted by Fraisse and Kuh, and a deep straightaway shot by Kuh that ricocheted down off the crossbar and in.

To open the second quarter, the Falcons ran two perfectly executed set pieces for Trimis, in which she scored goals off assists from Fraisse to give Crescenta Valley an 8-1 lead.

“[The offense] is going good,” said Fraisse, who finished with four assists. “When the set’s open, we pass it in and take what the defense gives us.”

Leading, 9-1, at halftime, the Falcons added third-quarter goals on a putback of a Trimis miss by Nolan and another long-range bomb from Kuh.

With the game well in hand going into the fourth, Loporchio was free to substitute liberally, as he has done at times this season to get the most out of the Falcons’ talented cast of reserve players.

“There’s a burden on me as coach to kind of find the right kind of combinations, stay with a little stability and use our bench, which is very deep,” Loporchio said. “We kind of platooned in a less random manner [earlier in the game] and let certain groups play a little more extended time together. They all did a great job and played well together.”

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