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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.