Trio of teams wraps up weekend of Junior Olympic competition

GLENDALE — A strong showing in the 2010 USA Water Polo Junior Olympics was a bright beginning for the newly-formed Falcon Water Polo Club, while another good run by a team from the Glendale-based Olimpiakan Reservner Water Polo Club was just the latest in a string of recent successes.

The girls' portion of the four-day tournament, which began on Thursday, wrapped up on Sunday morning with ORWP's 10-and-under co-ed squad capturing ninth place in the Platinum Division. Falcon's 14U team notched a 16th-place Platinum Division showing and its 16U squad came in eighth in the Gold Division.

With its 6-3 defeat of San Diego Shores in the ninth-place game at Flintridge Prep on Sunday, the Titans became the fourth ORWP team to finish in the top 10 in the nation after its 12U, 14U and 16U teams all did so in the boys' tournament last week.

"All of our four age groups made top-10 in the nation," ORWP Coach Vik Arakelyan said. "That was a goal of ours and it's a really good result for us to accomplish."

The Falcon club, which is directed by Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo Coach Pete Loporchio, is only in its first year of existence. Loporchio said the two team's showings were a great start for the young club.

"It's just an honor for us to be there as a first-time club," Loporchio said. "One, to actually qualify and compete, I think, was an honor and a learning experience for all of us and we build from there."

The 18U squad, which features several names from the reigning Pacific League champion Crescenta Valley High squad, fell, 14-13, in a close back-and-forth seventh-place match against Dirty Bay on Sunday at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center in Pasadena. Reigning All-Area Girls' Water Polo Player of the Year Kim Fraisse led Falcon with six goals.

"When you get to this level there's so many quality teams," Loporchio said. "At that level, [you have] to be able to execute, where it's shooting percentage and turnover ratio. A couple of those games, ff you look at our scores, it was a one- or two-goal game and the difference is execution, I think."

The 14U squad also had several close contests before falling, 14-8, to Anteater on Sunday in the 15th-place game at East Valley High.

"I just don't think we had enough depth in many cases, or at least depth with experience, to compete with many of these South Orange County teams," said Loporchio of the 14U squad, which was led offensively by Devin Grab and defensively by Shannon Hovanesian. "It was one of those where you have a lot of incoming freshmen and a couple of eighth-graders and the experience for them is invaluable."

ORWP went 4-2-1 in the tournament with wins over SD Shores, SET and Elite.

Falcons 18U went 3-4 with wins over Spartan, Houston Storm and Driver Blue, while the 14U squad went 3-4 with wins over Stanford White, American River Gold and Los Al Blue.

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