Crescenta Valley water polo edges past Hoover

LA CRESCENTA — For nearly an hour, players from the Crescenta Valley High and Hoover boys’ water polo teams milled around the pool deck soaking in a rainstorm that featured plenty of thunder and lightning.

With the Falcons and Tornadoes eager to meet in a Pacific League match Thursday afternoon at Crescenta Valley, the teams were forced to wait out the storm for 45 minutes before getting involved in a high-scoring tilt.

Nate Fernandez shook off the delay and answered the call for the Falcons, as he scored a team-high four goals to ignite Crescenta Valley to a 15-13 win.

“It was a completely different set of circumstances with the weather,” said Fernandez, who helped Crescenta Valley improve to 6-10, 2-1 in league. “It wasn’t long ago that we were playing in temperatures around 90.

“It was about being prepared mentally and handling what happened. We did that and got a big win.”

Crescenta Valley didn’t let the weather conditions affect it, jumping out to a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the first quarter on goals by Alexander Trimis, Fernandez and Ben Horton. The Falcons, ranked No. 8 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll, led throughout the match.

Crescenta Valley held a 14-9 lead with six minutes left in the fourth quarter before holding off a late rally by the Tornadoes (11-7, 2-2). The Tornadoes scored four goals in less than four minutes, including a Hakop Baghumian tally that pulled Hoover to within 14-13 with 1:47 remaining. Trevor Goddard added an insurance goal with 1:32 left for the Falcons.

“We got it going in the second half,” said Hoover Coach Kevin Witt, who guided the Tornadoes to an appearance in the semifinals last season for the first time in the program’s history. “It’s definitely a learning experience to be able to battle back like we did.

“We missed some assignments earlier in the game on defense. We also missed some shots.”

Crescenta Valley got three goals from Brian Dertli and two apiece from Antonio Camarillo, Trimis and Griffin Harting. The Falcons held a 9-5 halftime advantage.

Hoover received a match-best six goals from Baghumian and two each from Alek Keshishyan and Arik Abedi.

Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said the Falcons settled in smoothly following the delay.

“It’s about learning how to react because something like this can disrupt your mental preparation,” Sakonju said. “Hoover had to deal with it, too.

“There were very limited options in terms of rescheduling and we both wanted to get this in. We got off to a good start and then had a letdown. Hoover did a good job coming back, though.”

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