CV moves up to 16-0

LA CRESCENTA — Despite a 19-day layoff from competition, there was no rust to be had for the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team in its Pacific League opener on Tuesday.

Scoring four goals in the first 61 seconds, the Falcons easily swam past overmatched rival Arcadia, 20-1, to begin defense of their league title and improve their undefeated record to 16-0.

"I think we just played well all-around," said Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio, who got goals from nine players as his team scored the match's initial 19 goals. "It's nice to come back and be able to compete and create opportunities for everyone."

Senior Nayiri Kechichian scored a match-high five goals, while sophomore Ashley Taylor added four, senior Sabrina Hatzer had three and both junior Katie Benson and senior Stefanie Loporchio tallied two.

"We've been working hard," said Hatzer, whose team had three-hour workouts nearly every day during its span without a game. "It was just nice to see another team."

But Arcadia (4-12, 0-1 in league) hardly put up much of a fight, as Hatzer scored just nine seconds into the match off the sprint and Benson, Kechichian and Hatzer again scored off turnovers, as the Falcons turned their first four possessions into scores.

Arcadia didn't register a shot until the 5:34 mark of the first quarter and was outshot, 12-4, by the end of an 8-0 first stanza and 28-14 for the game. Arcadia's Sabrina Rademaker scored with 1:40 left in the match to stave off the shutout.

Falcons starting goalie Gabriel Isacson had to make just two saves in the scoreless first half, while Maggie Connell made three in the second half.

Breeana Lawton, Elissa Arnold, Amber Matherly and Cameron Campbell also had goals for the Falcons.

"Seeing everyone in and seeing everyone improve, it's a good feeling," Hatzer said.

Nonetheless, for a Falcons squad ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division IV with aspirations of repeating as league champions and equaling, if not exceeding, last season's CIF semifinal playoff march, this week could be a bit of a letdown. Having played and defeated higher-division heavyweights such as Harvard-Westlake and South Pasadena already this season, CV's schedule of Arcadia on Tuesday and playing one-win Hoover on Thursday isn't exactly stoking the competitive fire. But Loporchio isn't all that concerned with his team maintaining its edge.

"It's a pretty focused group and they realize what they have to do, regardless of who they play," he said.

And, no matter what the schedule has in store, the Falcons can take solace in knowing they've done as well as possible up to this point in the season.

"We're really, really happy and, as a team, this year we've come so far," Kechichian said. "It's really exciting to be 16-0."

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