Crescenta Valley girls' water polo throttles Burroughs

LA CRESCENTA — Pacific League domination was flexed out over four quarters and to the tune of more than 15 goals for the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team.

The host Falcons, top-ranked in Division V of the CIF-Southern Section, lived up to their billing and breezed through what was a first-place showdown versus 10th-ranked Burroughs by virtue of a 17-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon.

With the win, reigning league champion Crescenta Valley (23-2 overall, 6-0 in league) remains as the league’s lone unbeaten after bumping off the aspiring Indians (12-8, 5-1) and heads into next week’s league tournament as the No. 1 seed, with just one win needed to claim at least a share of the league crown.

“We’re really big on just coming out and starting the game very strong and dictating the tempo,” Falcons first-year Coach Brent Danna said. “This pool can confine us because it’s so small and today was senior day, which is always a worry. I was just worried about us being flat, but the girls came out and played.”

There weren’t very many aspects in which the Falcons weren’t dominant. They outshot the Indians, 37-22, were four for four on six-on-five chances versus one for four for Burroughs, had nine players score in comparison to four for the Indians and even pitched a second-quarter shutout.

As for fast starts, the Falcons led, 4-0, after two goals from Breana Lawton and single scores Katie Benson and Elissa Arnold through the team’s first six shots by the 3:19 mark in the first.

The quick pace led to a timeout from Burroughs Coach Danny Garcia, whose girls may have been victimized by the Falcons’ mystique as much as their menacing play.

“You could just see it on my girls’ faces when they walked in. They were nervous. You don’t want to say or show it, but you know it’s on the back of their mind,” Garcia said. “CV has a good record and they’re highly ranked and we were playing at their place. And you know what, CV is a fantastic team that’s well-coached and they deserve to be where they’re at.”

Garcia’s timeout did little to stem the tide of momentum, as the Falcons scored two additional first-quarter goals, while the Indians’ lone response was a score from Bailey Simmons off a six-on-five chance with 36 seconds left that closed the first quarter score at 6-1.

Simmons’ goal wasn’t matched by a teammate for another 11-and-a-half minutes until senior Yesi Esparza scored from six meters out on a shot that deflected off the hand of Arnold with 4:07 left in the third period.

Between Indians goals, Crescenta Valley iced the game with a 7-0 run fueled with two goals from Benson, who led all players with four goals and an assist, and with a goal and two assists from Arnold (two goals and three assists).

Crescenta Valley’s Cameron Campbell responded to Esparza’s goal with her own score with 1:04 remaining and eventually the Falcons took a 14-2 lead after three quarters.

“This was bittersweet because it’s my last game here and the last home game for several seniors, so we wanted to go out and play strong,” said Lawton, who finished with three goals and two assists and is one of five seniors on the roster. “We did that today.”

Goalie Gabriel Isacson finished with seven saves, while Maggie Connell also tallied three saves for the Falcons. Despite the score, Burroughs goalie Ahasha Earwood turned in an admirable effort, finishing with 10 saves and five steals.

“We just have to keep our heads up. We had the same thing happen to us last year when we lost, 16-4, the first time we played them,” Garcia said. “We saw them again in the championship game [of the Pacific League Tournament] and lost, 8-6, in the last two to three minutes. We have to keep composure and be ready to face them again.”

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