No. 1 Glendale High boys' water polo routs California in playoff opener

BURBANK — With a high-powered offense and a wealth of talented shooters, it’s rare for the Glendale High boys’ water polo team to be shut out in a quarter during a match – let alone a CIF Southern Section playoff match.

But that’s what happened Wednesday in a Division V first-round contest against California when the No. 1-seeded Nitros were blanked in the third. However, it was what Glendale was able to accomplish in the first two quarters of the match that rendered the scoreless quarter virtually meaningless.

The Nitros jumped out to a big lead after two quarters, weathered the third, and rolled to a 19-6 victory against the Condors at Burbank High.

The win sets up Glendale (19-6), which won the Pacific League championship, with a quarterfinal match Saturday against either Webb of the Prep League or Citrus Valley of the Inland Valley League.

“We were able to jump out big after that first quarter and we still had a big lead after the second,” Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said. “We got the quick start that we wanted and that gave us the opportunity to get playing time for all of our guys.

“Throughout the year, our seven-through-12 players work hard all season to help out our starters and it was nice to be able to bring them in and give them some time. They deserve it.”

Holbrook went to his bench with 2:50 remaining in the second quarter with a 16-2 advantage.

The Nitros’ potent counter-attack and swarming defense proved just too overpowering for California (16-6), which earned an at-large berth into the postseason out of the Del Rio League.

The Condors also couldn’t stop Glendale’s Artak Arzumanyan, who scored all of his match-high eight goals in the first half.

“Artak really set the tone for us today and that’s why we were able to get off to the good start,” Holbrook said. “He really seems to get up and elevate his game when we’re in the CIF playoffs. He just had a great game for us.”

Arman Momdzhyan added four goals and Manuk Piloyan had three for Glendale.

The Nitros got started on offense quickly, as Arzumanyan tallied the game’s first goal just 16 seconds in. Glendale kept up the pressure on defense, tallying three field blocks in the opening stanza and finishing with an 11-2 lead after the first quarter.

In the first, Glendale scored on 11 of its 14 shots from the field.

The Nitros kept up the pressure in the second quarter, outscoring the Condors, 6-1, and headed into the halftime intermission with a comfortable 17-3 lead.

In the first half, California was able to convert just three of its nine shots from the field.

With a big lead and its reserves in, Glendale was outscored, 2-0, in the third quarter. After failing on their first five man-advantage opportunities, the Condors finally made good on a six-on-five situation in the third. California was two of seven in man-advantage situations in the match.

With the contest in hand, the Nitros ate up the clock in the fourth quarter.

After having reached the Division V championship last season and failing to win the title, the Nitros are focused on getting back to the final match – and winning it this time.

“This is something that I think about it for sure,” Momdzhyan said. “I think that is something that we all want. But we have to play hard against everybody and we can’t let up.”

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