PASADENA — Whenever the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team visits Pacific League-foe Pasadena, the Falcons are usually quick to acknowledge that their game is affected by the Bulldogs' home-pool advantage.
But even though the pool's snug confines served to rein in Crescenta Valley's transition game, they hardly proved to be much of an asset on Tuesday afternoon for Pasadena, which had no room to run from and no answer for the Falcons' continued season-long dominance on both sides of the ball.
Behind a team-high six goals from Nayiri Kechichian, one of seven Falcons to score, Crescenta Valley coasted to a 21-10 victory to move to 18-0 on the season and stay perfect in league at 3-0.
"We never have a dull moment during practice and we always try to put that into the game," Kechichian said. "You have to start strong and finish stronger."
A strong start was key for the Falcons on Tuesday, as they jumped out to a 3-1 lead and closed the latter half of the opening period on a 4-0 run to take a 7-1 lead. Kechichian scored three goals during the first quarter and Ashley Taylor also scored three of her four goals in the first period, as the Falcons showed they could grind out offense in the half-court set just as effectively as they do in the open pool.
"That's a bit of a challenge in this pool because you run out of real estate, so to speak," said Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio, who also got three goals apiece from Sabrina Hatzer and Shannon Hovanesian. "We're more of an up-tempo team and we like to push the tempo. ...Ashley Taylor stepped up in the starting lineup and performed great, but we just had a great team effort."
Meanwhile, Pasadena, despite taking plenty of shots with nine total attempts, could only find the back of the cage once in the first period on a straightaway goal from Madeline Pirrone at the 3:45 mark. Falcons goalkeeper Gabriel Isacson registered five saves in the quarter en route to finishing with 11 in three quarters of play.
Crescenta Valley, which is currently ranked third in CIF Southern Section Division V, continued to press the action in the second quarter, taking a 9-1 lead by the 4:48 mark on tallies by Stefanie Loporchio and Hovanesian.
"I think we just needed to play better defense and better offense earlier in the game," said Bulldogs Coach Jennie Jacobsen-Huse, whose team fell to 10-6 and 0-2 in league.
Pasadena, which was led by five goals from Emma Dodd, trailed, 12-3, by halftime and saw the Falcons build their biggest lead of the match, 15-3, when Kechichian scored on a man-advantage play with 4:55 left in the third quarter.
It was the first of three advantage goals the Falcons would score in the period, with all three goals being converted within two seconds of the ejection.
"I use the hockey analogy of a one-timer — a lot of times you draw an ejection and then you get it right back — and that is an advantage [of the small pool], you don't have to wait for everybody to come down the pool," Coach Loporchio said.
Pasadena made a little push to begin the fourth behind two goals from Dodd and another from Pirrone, but the Falcons kept their edge with goals from Elissa Arnold, Taylor and Hatzer.