Crescenta Valley girls' water polo gets best of Louisville

LA CRESCENTA — Multiple goal-scoring options exist throughout the lineup of the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team. It's helped pave the way for the Falcons to begin their season on a positive note.

The balanced offense struck again for the Falcons on Friday afternoon, as eight players scored at least one goal en route to an easy 16-4 nonleague home victory against Louisville.

“We have a lot of depth and versatility and that's key on offense and defense,” said junior Shannon Hovanesian, a reigning All-Area first-team honoree who scored a team-high four goals to help the Falcons improve to 12-1. “With this team, it's so fun to play with because a lot of the players have a lot of experience and we have different options.

“There’s been constant improvement that I've seen in my three years here.”

Four of Crescenta Valley’s first six shots hit the crossbar or the post. Fortunately for the Falcons, ranked second in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll behind Riverside Poly, that pattern ceased. After falling behind, 1-0, Crescenta Valley scored the next nine goals to grab a 9-2 halftime advantage.

Lynley Fernandez scored three goals in a row midway through the second quarter to help the Falcons pull away from the Royals (4-5).

“We had opportunities early and it was just a matter of trying to break through,” said Crescenta Valley first-year Coach Brent Danna, who received two goals apiece from Breana Lawton, Cameron Campbell and Any Aghakhanian. “Having all of those different options on offense is the strength of our team.

“If it's not [options] A, B or C, then we have D, E and F. It’s about who is in position that we can get the ball to. It’s good to have lots of options. With Shannon, she makes us infinitely better. She can score goals, but she can also do things like read defenses and get steals.”

Louisville took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Leslie Fernando with 5:48 left in the first quarter. In a two-minute stretch late in the first quarter, Crescenta Valley scored four goals in a row. Hovanesian, Katie Benson, Lawton and Elissa Arnold each scored a goal in that stint.

Aghakhanian extended Crescenta Valley’s lead to 5-1 with 5:52 remaining in the second quarter before Fernandez registered her hat trick to give Crescenta Valley an 8-1 lead.

Crescenta Valley, which got one goal apiece from Benson, Arnold and Ashley Taylor, saw goalkeeper Caitlin Connell finished with four saves.

The Falcons, who won the Pacific League championship before advancing to the semifinals last season, competed without starting goalkeeper Gabriel Isacson. Danna said Isacson, an All-Area first-team pick, was ill.

The Royals got two goals from Molly Canfield.

Crescenta Valley will next compete Jan. 10, when it begins league play with a road match against rival Arcadia.

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