Loporchio off to Valley waters

Most of the highlights of Pete Loporchio's distinguished water polo coaching experience have occurred at the high school level.

Now the veteran Crescenta Valley High aquatics coach has decided the time is right to resume plying his trade at the college level.

Los Angeles Valley College shared that feeling, as Monarchs Athletic Director Diedra Stark said she recently reached out to Loporchio about their women's water polo head coaching vacancy, a position which Loporchio officially accepted on March 23.

"I had some connections there, but more or less they kind of had contacted me," said Loporchio, who was previously an assistant and co-head coach for women's water polo at L.A. Valley from 2001-02. "Some of the things that make it exciting for [assistant coach] Sarah [Van Norman] and I is that they have a relatively new state of the art aquatics facility that was put in two or three years ago.

"Being in a position where I can oversee the [Monarchs] program in the fall and continue to do the girls' program at CV in the winter was attractive. There's not a conflict in terms of the season. …Being able to coach again at the collegiate level was a big thing for me."

Loporchio is going on his 15th year overall, and sixth year in his current stint, at CV, where he is currently the girls' water polo and swimming coach and has coached boys' and girls' water polo and swimming throughout the years. The Falcons girls' water polo team recently concluded a 31 -1 season, which ended in the CIF Southern Section Division IV semifinals.

"I kind of waited until the end of the high school season just because I didn't want too many distractions," said Loporchio, a Glendale High graduate, who also coached men's water polo at Occidental College from 1992-93.

Stark said Loporchio was an ideal candidate because of his past experience at L.A. Valley and his reputation as head of a successful Falcons program.

"He's just an organized great guy and we're looking forward to him heading the program," Stark said. "He was here once before as an assistant coach years ago and he's got an amazing reputation. He's dedicated, willing to get out there and recruit and we're pretty sure there's going to be high school swimmers who would love the opportunity to play for him. We think he's a terrific addition to our coaching staff."

Loporchio takes over a Monarchs program that went 14-10 last season, according to its website, under Coach Moriah Van Norman, a former USC standout and 2008 Olympian, who has gone on to form a program at Pierce College. Her sister Sarah, who just finished up her own playing career at USC, will serve as Loporchio's assistant at L.A. Valley.

"She knows what it takes to play at the next level because she had a very successful career at USC," Loporchio said of Sarah Van Norman. "I'm excited in that I have a wealth of knowledge in Sarah in a woman who has first-hand experience of playing collegiately at the four-year level."

Loporchio said he has been in contact with Elin Karamian, who he expects will be the only returning player from the group of five freshmen on last year's Monarchs squad. The team will begin training in early June, but Loporchio said his first order of business will be recruiting and forming the roster.

"I would consider us to be in a building mode," Loporchio said. "The excitement for us is to build a team from scratch. I know from being at the junior college level in the past that things change really quickly when you only have them for two years. We can kind of put our own blueprint on the team in that we have very few returners and we're hoping and looking for players that are interested in playing and pursuing their academic careers, as well as their athletic careers."

gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

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