BURBANK — Having not played since just before Christmas, the Burbank High girls’ water polo team had time to recover from some injuries and illness.
The two-week break probably came at the right time for the Bulldogs, who wanted to avoid being rusty entering Tuesday’s Pacific League match against Glendale.
Senior Michelle Morlock made sure the Bulldogs were ready to take charge.
Morlock finished with a team-high five goals to help propel host Burbank to an 11-9 victory against the Nitros.
“I stayed healthy [during the break,” Morlock said. “We came out in the beginning and played the way we should.
“You need to be out there working as hard as the other team and know where and when to shoot. Everybody was driving and moving. The intensity was amazing for both teams.”
Burbank (4-6, 1-1 in league) never trailed despite yielding five man-advantage goals against Glendale (3-6, 1-2).
Morlock tallied three first-half goals, including two in the first quarter. She opened the scoring just 11 seconds into the fast-paced contest.
Morlock made it 3-0 with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter. She closed out the first-half scoring with a score to make it 7-3 with 2:14 to go in the second quarter.
“She always has that sense for the net and she’s ready to attack,” Burbank coach Zach Card said. “I came in a little nervous because we lost to Glendale coming out of the break last year.
“Then we had some injuries and sickness over the last couple of weeks. We came out real strong. There have been a lot of games where we have come out not focused.”
The Bulldogs, who tied for fifth in league and didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season, received three goals from Sera Shahbazian, two from Sophia Brice and one from Patil Minassian.
Glendale was led by Emma Mueller, who finished with a team-best five goals. Two of her goals came with an extra attacker.
Burbank held an 11-5 lead nearly midway through the fourth quarter before Mueller scored three unanswered goals to pull the Nitros, who finished fourth in league last season and advanced to the CIF playoffs, to within 11-8. Her third goal made it 11-8 with 50 seconds left and Bernica Doronila wrapped up the scoring with 29 seconds to go with the man-advantage.
“We seem to get stuck in a hole early on [in games],” Glendale first-year coach Jazzmyne Urquiza said. “We don’t play well in the first half.
“We’re a second-half team. We just need to come out and be more aggressive early on. We’re definitely getting better at six-on-five. We’re good at getting ejections. We just need to to make adjustments to play as a unit.”
The Nitros got two goals apiece from Jamie Fritz, a reigning All-Area selection, and Doronila.