SHERMAN OAKS — Counter-attacks came at a feverish pace, signaling immediate trouble for the members of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy water polo team.
There wasn't much the Tologs could do about it Tuesday afternoon, as many of the counters led directly to goals by Sherman Oaks Notre Dame during its 18-0 Mission League victory at Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park.
"We've had a problem stopping the transition this season," Sacred Heart Coach Robert Curreri said. "We have a lot of young players and not many who have a strong swimming background.
"In a big pool like this one, you can have a lot of problems. I'm looking for us to play better defense so that we don't get beat on counters."
Notre Dame (12-6, 3-2 in league) raced to a 7-0 lead after the first quarter. Five of the goals came off counter-attacks.
Sacred Heart (0-7, 0-5) rarely got a shot off during its possessions and was blanked for the first time this season.
"We talked about coming in and wanting to clean up our execution," said Notre Dame Coach John Hirn, a former Glendale resident. "It's the first of seven matches that we have this week.
"Sacred Heart is young and we are very senior-laden. We wanted to get out quickly and throw off their timing."
Notre Dame received three goals apiece from Glendale resident Joni Anderson, Lilly Camp and Emily Fuller.
Camp opened the scoring with two goals 58 seconds apart to make it 2-0 early in the first quarter. Anderson extended the lead to 3-0 with 4:30 remaining in the opening stanza. She made it 5-0 with 3:21 left in the first quarter before completing her hat trick that made it 17-0 midway through the fourth quarter.
The Tologs' best scoring opportunity came with 4:40 left in the fourth quarter. The Tologs were awarded a five-meter shot, but Hannah Wallech's shot was stopped by goalkeeper Mary Abary.
Curreri, a Crescenta Valley High graduate, said the Tologs are still learning the basics of the game.
"I'm seeing little improvements," Curreri said. "We have to be a little smarter with the ball and not sitting around watching.
"We have to do a better job reading the game."