Year of Tornado improvement

GLENDALE — This is the fifth of eight consecutive editions in which the News-Press looks back at the area's 2009-10 seasons, school by school, before looking ahead at the year to come.

Some signs of improvement at Hoover High were shown throughout the 2009-10 season. While none of the programs captured a Pacific League championship, several teams qualified for the playoffs.

One of the biggest stories in not only the area sports scene, but beyond, came as Hoover boys' water polo player Hakop Kaplanyan shined as a record-breaking star, as he netted 229 goals to set the CIF-Southern Section record for goals in a season.

In football, Hoover rallied in the fourth quarter to topple cross-town rival Glendale to capture "The Battle For the Victory Bell" for the first time since 2006 after having already snapped an infamous losing streak earlier in the season, while the winter would see the boys' basketball and soccer teams each appear in the postseason.

Here is a recap of some of the Tornadoes' athletic highlights and events that unfolded during the past year:

Sept. 10, 2009 — The football team falls, 12-8, in its season opener against Sierra Vista at Glendale High's Moyse Field. Looking to snap a 20-game losing streak, the Tornadoes drive to the Sierra Vista 11-yard line before turning the ball over with less than a minute left.

The boys' water polo team opens up with a 17-12 loss to Rancho Cucamonga in a pool-play match of the Ayala Tournament. Sophomore Hakop Kaplanyan finishes with a team-best nine goals.

Sept. 14, 2009 — The girls' volleyball team starts its season with a three-game loss to visiting Flintridge Prep. The Tornadoes eventually finish at 2-12 in league for seventh place.

Sept. 15, 2009 — The girls' tennis team begins Pacific League play with a 17-1 loss to Glendale. The Tornadoes, who get a doubles win from Stacey Rutherford and Vy Nguyen, finish at 5-11 and 2-10 in league for sixth place.

Sept. 18, 2009 — The football team wins its first game since 2006 with a 16-13 nonleague road victory against South Pasadena. Running back Ivan Tello rushes for 102 yards, including a game-winning 12-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Quarterback A.J. Pule passes for 163 yards and one touchdown.

"We feel amazing," Tello said.

Nov. 5, 2009 — At the Pacific League cross-country finals at Griffith Park, boys' runner Paul Engram clocks 17 minutes 41 seconds to finish 27th overall.

In the girls' portion of the meet, Frances Ramas finishes a team-best 15th in 20:18.

Nov. 13, 2009 — In the latest installment of one of the longest-standing rivalry games in the state, the football team posts a 15-7 win against Glendale in "The Battle For the Victory Bell" at Moyse Field. It marks the first time since 2006 that Hoover bests Glendale.

"It feels great," said second-year Hoover Coach Chris Long, whose team captures its first Pacific League win after 21 straight losses. "I give Glendale all the credit because [Nitros Coach Alan] Eberhart had those guys ready to play and they did a hell of a job."

Trailing, 7-0, at halftime, the Tornadoes score 15 unanswered points over the final 14:28 of the game, beginning with a three-yard touchdown run from Devaughn Williams with 2:28 left in the third quarter, to make it 8-7.

Tello gives Hoover (2-8 and 1-6 in Pacific League) a 15-7 lead when he tosses a 30-yard touchdown pass to Dymond McRae.

Nov. 12, 2009 — For the first time in the program's history, the boys' water polo squad advances to the CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinals with a 23-21 win against Pacifica. Davo Pogosian scores seven goals, while .Kaplanyan tallies nine, including his team's last three of the match.

Nov. 14, 2009 — It's a bittersweet day for the boys' water polo team. Kaplanyan tallies six goals in Hoover's 18-10 loss against eventual-champion Webb in a CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinal match in Pomona. Kaplanyan finishes the season with a CIF Southern Section single-season record of 229 goals in a season. The Tornadoes finish at 19-14 and 5-3 in the Pacific League for third place.

Jan. 22, 2010 — While staying close to archrival Glendale through three quarters, the girls' basketball team is outscored, 17-4, in the fourth quarter and is handed a 43-22 Pacific League home loss. Hoover winds up 3-21 and 0-14 in league for eighth place.

Former Glendale Community College assistant women's basketball coach Stan Watson is named Hoover's new girls' head coach later in the season, replacing Martik Ghookasian, who coached the squad the past three seasons.

Jan. 28 — The girls' soccer team turns in one of its best efforts of the season in a 3-2 Pacific League loss to Glendale. The Tornadoes wind up 2-14-1 and 2-11-1 in league for seventh place.

Feb. 3 — The girls' water polo team sees its season wrap up with a 16-4 loss to cross-town rival Glendale. The Tornadoes finish 0-14 and 0-6 in league for last place.

Feb. 11 — The boys' basketball team gets a steady defensive effort in its regular-season finale, expunging host Glendale, 51-42, in a Pacific League game. Samson Injigulyan finishes with 16 points.

The boys' soccer team punches its playoff ticket with a 2-0 Pacific League road victory against rival Glendale.

Feb. 16 — The boys' soccer team returns to the playoffs for the first time in two seasons and falls at home to Malibu, 2-1, in a Division IV wild-card playoff match. Arman Ter-Barseghyan scores the lone goal for Hoover, which finishes 9-5-3 and 7-3-4 in the Pacific League for third place.

Feb. 17 — The boys' basketball team sees its season end on a sour note, falling in overtime to 12th-seeded Woodbridge, 81-73, in a Division III-A first-round road game.

"That warrior mentality is what helped us get over the bumps coming back from last year and the way we started league this year," Hoover Coach Henrik Sardarbegian said. "They were some good leaders and every team will be successful if they have true leaders who don't mind being underdogs."

The Tornadoes go 14-14 and 5-9 in the Pacific League for fifth place.

In a tough decision for Sardarbegian, he later resigns to concentrate on his law career. Longtime Athletic Director Jack Van Patten decides to take over the vacated spot..

April 23 — The boys' volleyball team suffers a 25-16, 25-19, 25-10 Pacific League home loss against Glendale. The Tornadoes finish 0-10 overall and in league for sixth place.

April 27 — In the 11th installment of the Bronze Bowl, given to the school with the most total points at the Hoover-Glendale track and field meet, Glendale picks up a 141-131 Pacific League dual meet victory at Hoover. Glendale's girls' team earns a 73-63 win and the boys' teams battle to a 68-68 deadlock.

In the boys' portion of the meet, Hoover receives wins from Joseph Roach in the 110 hurdles (14.63) and the 300 hurdles (41.40), Highbert Davtian in the pole vault (8 feet) and the long jump (18-2), Cory Trevino in the 400 (53.64) and Danny Cruz in the shot put (35-8).

In the girls' portion of the meet, the Tornadoes get first-place efforts from Paige Hollis in the 110 hurdles (17.81) and the 300 hurdles (52.10), Allison Zalin in the shot put (30-7) and the pole vault (6-6), Logan McNair in the 100 (13.06) and 200 (28.30) and Anna Rubino in the 400 (1:07.87).

April 28 — In its final Pacific League swimming meet of the season, visiting Hoover falls to rival Glendale. Glendale beats Hoover, 106-39, in the girls' portion of the meet and Hoover suffers a 99-71 loss in the boys' competition.

Hoover gets first-place efforts from Janelle Gutierrez in the 100 backstroke (1:19.37) and Liana Khachikyan, Preni Movsesian, Erin Babakhani and Se Yeon Kim of Hoover group together to take the 400-freestyle relay (4:49.16).

In the boys' portion, Kaplanyan wins the 50 freestyle (23.63) and Nick Igoumnov takes the 100 butterfly (1:05.19). The Tornadoes get a first-place finish from Sevada Khodaverdi, Davo Pogosyan, Arthur Soghomonyan and Arin Azarian in the 200-freestyle relay (1:46.32).

April 29 — The boys' tennis team sees its season come to an end with a hard-fought 10-8 Pacific League loss. Hoover gets singles sweeps from Ejmin Mehranian, 6-2, 6-0, 6-1, and Oleg Simonyan, 6-2, 7-5, 6-3, to finish at 7-10 and 3-9 in league for sixth place.

May 5 — Boys' golfer Alan Cho cards a nine-over-par 80 to finish 16th overall at 166 at the Pacific League's individual finals at De Bell Golf Club.

May 7 — Roach takes second in the 110- and 300-meter hurdle events at the Pacific League finals at Glendale High. Roach clocks 15 seconds in the 100 and 39.31 in the 300.

May 13 — Having not qualified for the playoffs, the softball team goes out on a losing note. The Tornadoes suffer a 2-1 Pacific League road loss against Glendale. Coach Rich Henning's team, which splits the two-game season series against Glendale, goes 12-14 and 5-9 in league for fifth place.

May 14 — The baseball team ends its season with a 6-3 Pacific League road victory against cross-town rival Glendale. Under first-year Coach Joe Cotti, Hoover finishes 9-13 and 5-9 in league for sixth place while missing the playoffs.

"I wish the season was still going on," Cotti said. "I saw a totally different team during the last third of the season, and we learned to play as a team."

May 22 — Joseph Roach gets an unexpected chance to race as an alternate at the CIF Southern Section Division III finals at Cerritos College. Roach clocks 40.62 seconds to place eighth in the 300-meter high hurdles.

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