LA CRESCENTA — It was too close to call heading into the fourth quarter Wednesday, as the Crescenta Valley High boys' water polo team held a three-goal lead over Arcadia in a Pacific League game.
The host Falcons turned the match into a blowout in the fourth quarter, as they won, 15-7, on the heels of a 6-1 run in the last seven minutes. Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said his team was plagued by inconsistency early on Wednesday — something it's dealt with all year.
"It's how we've been playing this whole season," said Sakonju, as his team clinched third place in Pacific League with the win heading into the league tournament. "We will have some good moments and all of a sudden we are horrible."
The Falcons (9-16, 4-2 in league) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the game, as Jonny Malmrose and Antonio Camarillo scored in the opening two minutes. Arcadia came right back, tying the game at 2 with 1:44 left in the first quarter. Malmrose added another goal to give CV a slight edge, 3-2, headed into the second quarter.
The next two quarters followed that theme. Crescenta Valley would pounce early in the second and third quarters and see Arcadia answer back to keep the game in reach.
"I think there was just some miscommunication and confusion in the first half," Sakonju said. "Defensively, we were having trouble exchanging goals, we would score one and they would get one right back."
True to form, Crescenta Valley scored the first two goals of the second quarter and Arcadia answered back with two more. The Falcons got some more breathing room, scoring twice before halftime for a 7-4 lead.
Crescenta Valley's defense got on track in the second half, as Arcadia's first goal of the second half came at the 3:26 mark to cut the lead to 9-5, after the Falcons scored the first two goals of the third quarter. Arcadia responded and scored two goals in the last three-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter to keep the game in hand, 9-6, headed into the fourth quarter.
As usual, Manny Martinez anchored Crescenta Valley's defense in goal. He had nine blocks and tied teammates Vartan Shahnazarian and Gavin Hukasian for a match-high in steals with three. CV forced 25 turnovers overall.
In the break between the third and fourth quarter, the Falcons huddled together and discussed what they had to do in the final seven minutes.
"We had to bring harder it in the fourth quarter," Martinez said. "It's our last home game and we had to show what we're worth."
Crescenta Valley threw the first three quarters out the window and went on a 6-1 run to close out the scoring at 15-7. Malmrose scored three times in the game for the Falcons and Shahnazarian added two of his own.
"It's our last home game as seniors, we had to go for it," said Camarillo, who finished with a game-high four goals and two steals. "I am really hoping we will be able to repeat this fourth quarter performance through the rest of the season."