NORTHWEST GLENDALE — For the second straight season, the Hoover High boys' water polo team needed a bounce-back game and, unfortunately for the Burroughs Indians, they were there once again for the Tornadoes to rebound against.
Less than a week after being held scoreless for the final 26 minutes 28 seconds in an embarrassing loss to Crescenta Valley, the Tornadoes took on the Indians looking to fix their problems.
Hoover didn't solve all of its issues, but it did enough to defeat Burroughs, 13-7, in a Pacific League home match.
"This helped us get back on track and back to where we want to be to win league and to win CIF," said Hoover's Hakop Kaplanyan, who led his team with four goals and a match-high seven steals.
In 2009, Kaplanyan, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year, had 13 goals in a 22-6 road victory against Burroughs. The victory came a few days after the Tornadoes suffered their first league loss to Crescenta Valley.
In his 2009 match with Burroughs, Kaplanyan was not double-teamed and scored with ease. The Indians learned their lesson this season.
Burroughs double-teamed Kaplanyan before he even touched the ball, sometimes putting two players on him while he drifted toward the opposite end of the pool.
"We were determined to stop Hakop," Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia said. "We just wanted to double-team him at all times."
The strategy was effective for a half.
The Indians and Tornadoes played to a 5-5 tie at the end of the first half, as Martin Ortega notched three goals for Burroughs and Kaplanyan had two.
"When they were double-teaming me, I couldn't really do much," said Kaplanyan, who received help from Davo Pogosian and Todd Bazik (three goals apiece), Vahe Alvayan (two goals) and Arthur Soghomonyan (one). "That comes because we were not prepared for their defensive plan."
The game's momentum changed to start the second half.
Hoover forced four turnovers in the first two minutes and scored seven unanswered goals in a span of five minutes to pull away from the Indians.
Burroughs didn't score until Ortega took a pass from Kevin Ueno and scored with 1:37 left in the quarter. Ortega also added a goal in the fourth quarter, but by that time, the Tornadoes had inserted their substitutes and Kaplanyan was resting on the bench. Ortega finished with a match-high five goals. Ueno and Daniel Marinea also scored for the Indians.
"We had poor passing choices and we had poor shooting choices," Garcia said. "I don't know what their mindset was. They stopped doing what was working.
"I knew it was coming. [Hoover] was starting to get really aggressive and I knew they were going to come with 200%. I knew it was coming, I was hoping my boys were a bit more prepared with their passing, and they weren't."