GLENDALE — Energized heading into a key Pacific League match involving a pair of crosstown rivals, there was plenty at stake for the Hoover and Glendale highs boys’ water polo teams Wednesday.
With the No. 1 seed in the upcoming league tournament up for grabs, Hoover and Glendale looked to break a tie in league in the final league regular-season contest at Hoover.
Backed by a balanced scoring attack that included a match-high five goals from Samvel Manukyan and four from David Ashkharian, Hoover rolled to an impressive 20-6 victory.
Hoover (14-7, 6-0 in league) will be the top seed in the tournament, which will begin Tuesday at Arcadia High. Glendale (17-9, 5-1) will be seeded second. Hoover will face No. 4 Crescenta Valley in a semifinal match and Glendale will take on No. 3 Arcadia in the other semifinal tilt.
“I think we knew what we needed to do and we played well on offense and defense,” said Manukyan, who finished with three first-quarter goals. “It’s exciting to be able to go out there and beat your rival and we know Glendale well because we play against each other in club.
“We were able to go out there and have a big first quarter and work on things. We left it all out there and we really wanted to be the No. 1 seed.”
Manukyan tied the score at 2 with 3:19 left in the first quarter. The Tornadoes, who are searching for their second league championship in the last three seasons, then scored five goals in the next three minutes to build a 7-2 lead. Manukyan capped the first-quarter scoring surge for Hoover with 29 seconds remaining.
Manukyan followed suit in the second quarter, as he scored his fourth goal with 30 seconds left to give the Tornadoes an 11-4 halftime lead.
“I think we were able to click at both ends,” Manukyan said. “We got some goals off of counter-attacks and we got off good shots.”
Hoover held Glendale scoreless in the third quarter and got three man-advantage goals to build a 16-4 advantage. The Tornadoes tallied man-advantage goals in the quarter from Armando Honarchian, Ashkharian and Keon Khosravi.
Overall, Hoover scored on five of eight man-advantage opportunities to further fluster Glendale.
“I think we came in and we just put too much pressure on ourselves,” Glendale coach Narek Vardanian said. “Hoover is just as fast as our team, if not faster.
“We had some problems with our passing and it was a very bad day for us. Hoover got a lot of ejections on us in the first quarter and it was because of a lack of alertness. We go into the league tournament and it’s definitely going to be tough with Hoover, Crescenta Valley and Arcadia. So, we’ll have to be ready.”
Hoover received three goals from Hakop Ansuryan, two each from Honarchian, Hayk Nazaryan and Jordan Corpuz and one apiece from Khosravi and Vem Noubarentz.