PASADENA — George Vine IV doesn’t seem to mind being peppered with a lot of shots.
The Crescenta Valley High boys’ water polo goalie said he prefers to stay active guarding the cage and seeing his share of chances during games. The senior enjoyed a big performance Thursday, as he made 12 saves, including six in the first half, to propel host Crescenta Valley to a 10-6 win against former division rival Rio Mesa at Pasadena City College.
“I feel like I have a lot of responsibility to help my team win,” said Vine, who had nine first-half saves. “I just have to go out there and play my part and make the saves.
“I want to make the best of my senior year. We still have things to work on, but we’ll just keep working at it.”
The Falcons and Spartans have developed a rivalry, mostly in the playoffs. Crescenta Valley topped Rio Mesa in the Division VI title match in 2008 before Rio Mesa knocked Crescenta Valley out in the semifinals in 2009.
“Rio Mesa is not an easy team to play against,” Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said. “We’ve had some good battles with them in the regular season and playoffs.
“George played very well, especially early on. He also allowed us to settle down our offense.”
Crescenta Valley, tied with Riverside Poly for sixth in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll, also got a match-high four goals from Nate Fernandez to improve to 4-3. Rio Mesa, 10th in Division VI, dropped to 4-5.
Fernandez had a pair of first-half goals to help Crescenta Valley build a 4-2 halftime advantage in a game in which the Falcons never trailed.
Fernandez scored with 5:23 left in the second quarter to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead. Daniel Park made it 4-2 for the Falcons about a minute later.
“I was satisfied with what I was able to do,” Fernandez said. “George was the difference in the first quarter.
“He’s just got that natural instinct and that long wing span where he can block all kinds of shots.”
Fernandez provided the Falcons with a cushion after scoring two goals in a 42-second span late in the third quarter. He scored on a five-meter shot to make it 6-3 with 2:12 left before adding his final goal on Crescenta Valley’s next possession to extend the lead to 7-3.
The Spartans got one goal apiece from Robert Cervantes and Austin Hammond early in the fourth quarter to trim the deficit to 7-6. Crescenta Valley followed that up with goals from Brandon Fernandez, Omar Trad and Trevor Goddard to seal the victory.
The Falcons, who got two goals from Goddard and one each from Park, Griffin Harding, Brandon Fernandez and Trad, will next compete at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in a Pacific League-opening match at Crescenta Valley.