Ryan Moguel leads Crescenta Valley High boys' water polo past his former Hoover squad

GLENDALE — Senior boys’ water polo player Ryan Moguel transferred to Crescenta Valley High from Hoover last spring. Because of CIF Southern Section transfer rules, Moguel had to sit out the first month of the season.

And who was his opponent for his first match back? Yep, Hoover.

“It was the closing of a chapter of my life,” Moguel said following the match at Hoover. “I played my first varsity high school water polo game here as a freshman, and this was the last game I'll play in this pool. It was mixed emotions.”

Crescenta Valley fended off a late rally to defeat Hoover on Tuesday, 8-6.

In the victory, Moguel did his part by leading the Falcons with three goals. He added three steals.

“It's like putting on an old pair of shoes, I would say,” Moguel said of returning to the pool. “I just slipped back into old habits, and it turned out pretty well.”

Crescenta Valley, which improves to 8-6 and 3-0 in Pacific League play, jumped out to an early 4-1 lead and carried an 8-3 advantage heading into the final period.

Falcons Coach Jan Sakonju credited his team's defense in stiffing the Tornadoes' attack.

“I think that was consistent all four quarters,” Sakonju said. “We played a very smart defensive game. I felt they were working really well together.”

The fourth period was another story, however. Hoover (2-10, 0-3) rallied with three unanswered goals. Hakop Kaplanyan scored two of his game-high four goals in the final period, including a five-meter shot with 90 seconds remaining to pull to within 8-6.

“We started working for each other and we started playing a lot better on defense,” Hoover Coach Kevin Witt said. “A team like CV, who likes to counter, it's usually really difficult.

“You spend half the time trying to chase them down. We had to pick and choose when we were going to attack.”

Witt was quick to credit goalkeeper Anthony Gevorkian for keeping the Tornadoes in the game. The freshman had 10 saves.

“He had a very good game for us,” Witt said. “He had a lot of big stops. He's been improving all year and he's getting a lot better with each game.”

Nate Fernandez added a pair of goals for Crescenta Valley, and goalkeeper George Vine had nine saves.

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