BURBANK — After the top-seeded Glendale High boys' water polo team encountered a brief scare early in the third quarter, Manuk Piloyan went to work and allowed the Nitros to breathe easier.
Piloyan's offensive surge came at a key time in the Nitros' quest for a championship.
Piloyan finished with seven goals, including four in the third quarter, to power Glendale to a 20-14 victory against Webb in a CIF Southern Section Division V quarterfinal match Saturday at Burbank High.
Glendale (20-6) will meet Walnut (14-14) in a semifinal match at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut. The other semifinal contest will be Pasadena Poly against second-seeded Los Altos at 6 on Wednesday at the same venue.
The Nitros and Gauls (15-12) were deadlocked at 9 near the midway point of the third quarter when Piloyan took charge. He scored his four goals in less than four minutes to give the Nitros a 13-9 advantage.
Piloyan's final goal in the quarter came with 1:05 left.
"I decided to step it up," Piloyan said. "It was a close game and we were able to get some goals off counter-attacks.
"You get into a zone and you don't want it to stop. We still have some things to work on defensively, but we got some field blocks [Saturday]."
Glendale, which captured the Pacific League championship and will make its second consecutive appearance in the semifinals, also got six goals from Arman Momdzhyan and four from Artak Arzumanyan. The Nitros have scored 39 goals in their first two playoff matches.
Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook, who guided the Nitros to the finals against Pasadena Poly last season, said Piloyan gave them a large enough cushion.
"Manuk is just able to go out there and score," said Holbrook, whose team opened with a 19-6 first-round victory against California on Wednesday. "He loves to score and he's always looking to shoot.
"He got us going in the third quarter. Webb is a really good team. They ran some plays that gave us some trouble, but then we were able to figure it out."
Webb, which finished second in the Prep League, gave Glendale all it could handle throughout the first half. The teams were tied at 3 after the first quarter and Glendale held a narrow 9-7 halftime advantage.
"They took a lot more shots than we did throughout most of the first half," said Glendale goalkeeper David Tiraturyan, who finished with 15 saves. "We knew we had to keep on pushing.
"Our goal is to win CIF. It was 9-9 in the third quarter and we knew we had to get it done."
Early in the fourth quarter, Glendale used a 4-0 run to take a 17-10 lead. Piloyan had a pair of goals in that stretch.
Webb received six goals from Spencer Hosch and four from David Albers.
Hosch scored to bring the Gauls to within 5-4 with 3:44 remaining in the first half. Glendale then got one goal apiece from Arzumanyan, Piloyan and Momdzhyan in a 75-second span to give Glendale an 8-4 lead.
The Nitros got two goals from Harut Bandikyan and one from Jayson Wilia.