Falcons off to undefeated start

LA CRESCENTA — When an undefeated Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team hosted a winless San Marino squad on Tuesday afternoon, the outcome was predictable.

And, for all intents and purposes, the Falcons got the predicted result, as they throttled the Titans, 14-1, in a nonleague match at Crescenta Valley High.

"We got probably what we thought we'd get out of it," said Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio of the lopsided win that didn't exactly see CV play its best throughout.

Nonetheless, the match's outcome more than supplemented an outstanding start to the season for the Falcons, who are 7-0 and ranked fourth in CIF Southern Section Division V.

"Certainly, when you're 7-0, I don't think you could be any more content with the start of the season," said Loporchio, whose team is coming off a season in which it won the Pacific League title and advanced to the CIF Division IV quarterfinals. "We're just looking at the big picture, which is defending our league title and going far in CIF. So in terms of where we're progressing, I think we're very happy."

Another aspect that has Loporchio pleased is his team's depth, evidenced by eight Falcons scoring in Tuesday's match, with Breanna Lawton and Stefanie Loporchio tallying three goals apiece

"I think it's one of our biggest strengths," said senior Kristina Molder, who had two steals and two assists, of the team's depth. "It gives us an element other teams don't have."

For a good portion of the season, the Falcons have also been without Kim Fraisse, the reigning All-Area Player of the Year. Fraisse, nursing a shoulder injury, scored off a Rachel Krebsbach assist just 19 seconds into the match to put San Marino (0-5) into a hole it would never come close to digging out of.

Fraisse, like many of the starters, played just the first period. Nevertheless, her absence has been a bit of a blessing in disguise, forcing the rest of the Falcons to step up their game.

"Everyone has kind of stepped up to the plate," Lawton said. "But it's definitely nice having her back."

Fraisse and four other Falcons missed Crescenta Valley's semifinal match against El Rancho in the Los Altos Tournament on Saturday, but the Falcons still prevailed, 12-0, as Adrienne Ingalla, Christine Cho, Shannon Hovanesian and Sabrina Hatzer each scored twice in what Loporchio said was one of the best matches he's seen his team play.

Fraisse returned for the tournament final and scored in sudden-death overtime to give the Falcons an 11-10 win over South Pasadena. Fraisse had four goals in the match, with Ingalla and Hovanesian scoring twice.

"We're ecstatic, we're so excited," said Lawson of the team's start to the season. "Everybody was really happy after we won the tournament."

Coming off a huge win in taking the Los Altos tournament, Loporchio admitted he expected a bit of a lull with Tuesday's match.

Still, though Crescenta Valley seemed far from being as crisp as it could be, at first quarter's end it was already 5-0 and the Falcons owned a 9-0 lead before San Marino scored its first and only goal with 5:25 to go in the third period.

Hatzer and Daniella Khatchetourian had two goals each on Tuesday, while Karina Alvarez, Cho and Naiyri Kechichian also had goals.

The Falcons are likely to face a far stronger showing from South Pasadena in today's nonleague tilt at 3:30 p.m. at Pasadena City College.

Not to mention, despite the splendid start, it's clear the coaching staff has made it clear that nothing has been accomplished yet.

"I think, in general, we're playing real well," Molder said. "But our coaches keep telling us, no matter how well we're playing, we have to keep looking forward."

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