First-round dominance by Falcons

PASADENA — Bestowed the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs' third seed and shouldering its own lofty expectations, the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team had no reservation about what it was supposed to do in Wednesday's opening round.

And the Falcons found little obstacle in doing just what they expected, taking care of business to the tune of a dominant 16-6 first-round win over Yucaipa at Pasadena City College.

"We came out really confident that we would play really well," said Falcons senior Adrienne Ingalla, who paced Crescenta Valley, along with Christine Cho, with four goals apiece.

The Falcons (26-3), who have now advanced to the quarterfinals three straight seasons, jumped out to a 6-1 lead after the opening quarter and after a brief resurgence by the Thunderbirds (11-13), emphatically regrouped with six consecutive goals to put the match away.

"They did a great job," said Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio, who got goals from seven players as he subbed early and often. "We started out strong. We got a little bit sluggish and then we picked it right back up."

Crescenta Valley will now take to the road on Friday to face Walnut, which defeated Arlington, 9-7, on Wednesday. For a cast of seniors that, among others, includes Ingalla, Cho and Kim Fraisse, who had two goals and two steals, the playoffs present one last run to get over the quarterfinal hurdle that has been the ending point to each of their previous seasons.

"We're really focusing on taking it one game at a time," Ingalla said. "But we have a goal of getting to the finals and that starts with playing every game like it could be your last."

The Falcons ended the Thunderbirds' season on Wednesday with a torrid start and an overpowering run later on.

Goals by Cho and Breanna Lawton inside the game's first 90 seconds pushed the Falcons out to a 2-0 lead before they scored the final four goals of the opening period, with two more coming from Cho.

Yucaipa briefly made it a game in the second quarter, though, cutting the Falcons' lead to 6-4 on the strength of three straight goals during a scoreless span for CV in which it turned the ball over four times.

"I think when coach called the timeout, we had time to refocus and remember why we're here, which is to play good water polo and good defense, which we weren't doing," Ingalla said.

That all changed emphatically, though, as Yucaipa was held scoreless for the final 4:54 of the first half and the Falcons scored three goals — a Cho score off a Rachel Krebsbach assist, a Stefanie Loporchio tally on a counter off a long pass from Lawton and an Ingalla goal off a Cho pass — in the last two minutes of the second quarter to take a 9-4 halftime lead.

The Falcons punctuated the victory with an outstanding third quarter in which they outscored Yucaipa, 7-1.

Lawton and Loporchio had two goals apiece, while Shannon Hovanesian and Daniella Khatchetourian had single tallies.

Moving forward, the elder Loporchio wants its team focused on what it does best, which is using its depth, a well-rounded offense and stellar defense to take it as far as the Falcons can go.

"At this point, maybe it's a John Wooden cliché, but we just try and do what we do," he said. "We're gonna stick with what's been successful for us this year."

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