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Hoover boys’ soccer returns from break with breakout win against Burbank

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Hoover’s Kevin Mirzakhanian is congratulated by teammates after scoring his third goal of the game in a Pacific League boys’ soccer game Friday against Burbank.
(Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

It took several attempts for the Hoover High boys’ soccer team to get what it wanted — a Pacific League victory.

Backed by a natural hat trick from Kevin Mirzakhanian, Hoover walked off the field victorious following a league match for the first time this season. The Tornadoes did so by appearing sharp following a two-week holiday break.

Mirzakhanian scored three goals in a row to help propel host Hoover to a convincing 7-0 win against inexperienced Burbank on Friday.

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Burbank’s Freddy Cardenas, right, heads the ball over Hoover’s Sevak Papazyan in a Pacific League boys’ soccer game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

“It’s so good to come away with a league win,” Hoover second-year coach Jason Umansky said. “Everything just started to click today and we had maybe six or seven good scoring chances in each of our first three league matches and nothing went our way.

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“We came back from the holidays and were ready to go. Now, we want to build off of this.”

Santiago Rivera scored two goals to help Hoover (2-3-1, 1-3 in league) get the upper hand against Burbank (1-5, 1-3). The Tornadoes received one goal apiece from Sevak Papazyan and Alejandro Concepcion.

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Hoover’s Kayk Torosyan battles Burbank’s Jorge Ortega for the ball in a Pacific League boys’ soccer game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

The Tornadoes jumped on the inexperienced Bulldogs early and often before breaking through in the ninth minute on a goal by Papazyan from just inside the box.

Rivera converted on a penalty shot in the 20th minute to give Hoover a 2-0 lead before Mirzakhanian took charge.

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Mirzakhanian, a senior midfielder, made it 3-0 with about two minutes left in the first half.

The second half proved to be a windfall for Mirzakhanian, who gave the Tornadoes a 4-0 lead in the 52nd minute.

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Hoover’s Albert Khachatryan battles Burbank’s Nicholas Diaz and Andrei Rodriguez on an attack in a Pacific League boys’ soccer game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

Mirzakhanian completed the natural hat trick about five minutes later to make it 5-0.

“We began league a little slow and we knew we needed to start creating some scoring chances,” Mirzakhanian said. “We wanted to come back into a flow today and we felt good during the whole game.

“Eventually, we were going to break through. I felt good out there and we needed to do some things better like communicating. I thought we were good today with our communication.”

Burbank’s best scoring opportunity came in the first half, when a 40-yard direct kick by Nicholas Diaz struck the crossbar.

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Burbank’s Andrei Rodriguez traps the ball on defense against Hoover’s Alejandro Concepcion in a Pacific League boys’ soccer game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

Burbank co-coach Angel Cardenas, who splits the coaching responsibilities with Loi Phan, said the Bulldogs struggled to match the Tornadoes.

“We started off playing well and then we underestimated Hoover for some reason,” Cardenas said. “We really couldn’t get anything going and then we gave up some goals.

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“We have a very young team and it shows sometimes. You can’t underestimate teams at all. We were a little rusty and we haven’t practiced over the last two weeks.”

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Hoover’s Kevin Mirzakhanian, right, beats Burbank defender Garik Kirahosyan to score his third goal of the game in a Pacific League boys’ soccer game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

Hoover goalkeeper Georgii Stilidi finished with three saves. Burbank goalkeeper Jack McKinnon had eight saves.

The Tornadoes and Bulldogs will participate in league matches Tuesday. Hoover will travel to face Muir and Burbank will take on visiting Pasadena.

Hoover and Burbank will meet again Jan. 31 at Burbank.

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Burbank’s Garik Kirahosyan (in front) seemingly sneaks in from the side to take the ball off the foot of Hoover’s Kevin Mirzakhanian who was being pursued by Burbank’s Freddy Cardenas in a Pacific League boys’ soccer game at Hoover High School on Friday, January 3, 2020.
(Tim Berger/Glendale News Press)

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