GLENDALE — Backed by a relentless surge on offense, the Hoover High boys’ water polo team has maintained its grip on first place in the Pacific League.
It’s a spot the Tornadoes don’t want to lose a handle on entering the homestretch in league.
Hungry to win a second league championship in three seasons, Hoover received a match-high seven goals from David Ashkharian on Tuesday to roll to a 20-9 league home victory against Burroughs.
Hoover (13-7, 5-0 in league) scored 17 first-half goals to turn aside Burroughs (8-8, 1-3). Burroughs won the league title last season, beating Hoover in the championship match in the league tournament.
“We came in before the game thinking how bad we want to win league again after Burroughs got it last year,” Ashkharian said. “We did a lot of good things today, like moving the ball fast and getting some goals off counter-attacks.
“It’s a really big thing if we can win league again. We just wanted to come out and dominate and we did that in the first half.”
Hoover, tied for first with Glendale, held an 8-2 lead after the first quarter and extended its lead to 17-4 at halftime against an inexperienced Burroughs squad.
Ashkharian, a reigning All-Area pick last season, scored four first-quarter goals. His third goal gave the Tornadoes a 5-0 lead with three minutes to go in the quarter.
“We’re always trying to do well and we want to build on it,” Hoover coach Kevin Witt said. “The guys are motivated to be in the position they are in and they haven’t forgotten about what happened last year [against Burroughs].
“We started the game wanting to push the pace and create some one-on-one opportunities. They did that by coming out well.”
The Tornadoes got four goals from Jordan Corpuz, three from Hakop Ansuryan and two each from Samvel Manukyan, Armando Honarchian and Hayk Nazaryan.
Hoover peppered Burroughs goalkeeper David Rosales, who finished with 13 saves.
Burroughs had no response trying to counter by Hoover, which got 12 saves from goalkeeper Henry Pruett..
“We were just getting killed with their passing and counter-attacks,” said Burroughs coach Jacob Cook, who led the Indians to a CIF championship in 2016. “Hoover has got a very good team and a good group of players.
“It’s a building year and we have a lot of young players. We’re just looking to gain more experience and we’ll learn from failure. We have to find a way to endure and fight.”