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Burroughs girls' water polo knocks off Glendale for first league victory

Burroughs girls' water polo knocks off Glendale for first league victory
Burroughs High's Bianey Mendoza takes a shot against Glendale's Clara Cho during Thursday's Pacific League match. (Ross A. Benson)

BURBANK — On the attack and on the defensive end, Burroughs High put in a complete team effort in its Pacific League girls’ water polo opener against Glendale at home Thursday afternoon.

The Indians received 10 goals from senior utility Aleah Orozco and saw junior goalkeeper Emma Nathan make 18 saves. Their actions translated to the first league victory for Burroughs in a 13-7 win against visiting Glendale.

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“The girls are finally putting it together,” said Burroughs coach Jacob Cook, whose team was runner-up in league last season. “We’ve been working on a lot of things that have held us back in games earlier in the season. They’ve been putting in the work to improve on those, and so they came out and played hard.

“I know it’s the first league game of the season, so they came out a little more aggressive, so it’s good to see that.”

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Orozco scored four of Burroughs’ seven goals in the first half with a pair of goals in each of the first two quarters. The senior added four more in the third quarter, before she contributed another in the final period to fend off a rallying Glendale.

“Glendale is usually a competitive team for us and we’re usually at the same level, so I think we came in with that mindset and worked our hardest at making sure that we gained an advantage on offense and had a comfortable amount of points to win,” Orozco said.

“We have really good chemistry, so I think we work really well. I think that aspect shows up really well in the pool because we know how to communicate and we trust each other to make the right decisions.”

Nathan tallied six saves each in the first and third quarters and had two big saves before halftime to keep it a three-goal Burroughs lead, 6-3, that could’ve easily been a one-score advantage.

“Having Emma in the cage is amazing,” Cook said. “She puts on a stellar performance every game. She has 15 to 20 saves per game so she kills it. And having Aleah in there, we kind of have her playing in different positions but she did a great job today all around.”

Glendale, which opened up Pacific League play with a 13-10, comeback win against Pasadena, moves to 3-3 overall, 1-1 in league.

In the second league match, first-year coach Jazzmyne Urquiza said she’s learning more about her Glendale team.

“I’m realizing that we are definitely a second-half team,” Urquiza said. “We come out really soft and we’re bulldogs toward the end and sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough time to catch up.”

The Indians (4-6) jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to a pair of goals from Orozco and one from Jaelynn Bijasa.

The Nitros pulled one back when Emma Mueller scored at the 3:45 mark to make it a 3-1 lead, but a goal from Burroughs senior Amy Berberyan made it 4-1 prior to the end of the first period.

Nitros juniors Jamie Fritz and Bernica Dornila each scored in the second quarter and Glendale showed signs of life, but the visitors were outscored, 3-2, in the period and trailed Burroughs at halftime, 7-3.

“I think the issue is we kind of focus on one-to-two players to make our goals for us as opposed to making it a team effort,” Urquiza said. “That just goes with the fact that a lot of these girls were on the junior varsity team and I had to move them up, and a lot of girls graduated. It’s a new team that’s playing together, so I feel like the adjustment has been a little different for them.”

The teams traded goals early in the third quarter with Orozco scoring twice to keep Burroughs in front.

Orozco added another two goals toward the end of the frame, while Nathan saved three consecutive shots to maintain a six-goal lead, 11-5, as the third quarter came to a close.

Fritz, who led Glendale with a team-high four goals, pulled one back for the Nitros early in the final quarter to make it 11-6.

But Orozco responded a minute later with a goal to restore Burroughs’ six-goal lead, before Fritz sliced the deficit again for a 12-7 Indians advantage with 2:55 left.

Orozco notched her 10th goal with 1:50 remaining in the match.

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