Hoover pounds Pasadena

PASADENA — Each time Hoover High boys' water polo captain Hakop Kaplanyan touched the ball, Pasadena sent a double-team to swarm the senior utility driver.

But Kaplanyan continued to muscle his way through every defensive scheme, scorching host Pasadena for 10 goals to lead the Tornadoes to an 18-11 Pacific League-opening victory Tuesday afternoon.

"He's been doing that every game," Tornadoes first-year Coach Kevin Witt said. "He's definitely a rare talent and he's a lot of fun to coach.

"It makes game-planning easier when you have someone like him that you can use at your disposal."

On Tuesday, that game plan required Hoover to account for the small pool at Pasadena, which makes spacing a concern on offense and defense. According to Bulldogs Coach Neil Esser, the pool measures at 12 yards by 20.

But Hoover adjusted rather seamlessly.

Though they trailed, 3-2, late in the opening period, the Tornadoes reeled off six unanswered goals to help get a 10-4 halftime lead. Kaplanyan scored four goals and got an assist on another during that run. And by intermission, his six goals single-handedly outscored the Bulldogs (8-4, 0-1).

"It's a narrow pool, so you don't get as tired. You get more shots and more possessions, so that works for us," Kaplanyan said. "First quarter was really the test for us. We were trying to see what we could do and we couldn't do.

"But the second quarter on, it was just our game. We had the momentum on our side."

Not to be forgotten was Hoover's defense, which held Pasadena to only one goal in the second period. It came with 1:28 to play before halftime on a five-meter penalty shot by Will Klein, who led the team with four goals.

Klein, an all-league second-team pick last season, was assigned to Kaplanyan at times. But Hoover's captain curled around him almost effortlessly on one play in particular in the second quarter, which gave the Tornadoes an 8-3 lead they would never relinquish.

"He creates mismatches everywhere he goes. And even when he doesn't have a shot — when he's looking through a sea of hands, on plays like that where you should pass — he's such a talent that he could come through and find a hole through all the sea of hands," Pasadena Coach Neil Esser said.

Goalie Sevada Khodaverdi collected 20 saves for Hoover, which extended its winning streak to nine games.

David Pogosian, Darit Davtyan and Todd Bazik also contributed two goals apiece in the win.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World