Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy water polo holds off Burroughs

BURBANK — Looking to preserve a one-goal lead in the waning moments, Elizabeth Hinckley had an inkling she would need to make one more save.

It came with no margin for error. Once the ball struck the hands of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy girls’ water polo goalkeeper and the final horn sounded, Hinckley breathed a sigh of relief.

“I knew I would have to make one more stop,” said Hinckley, who finished with 14 saves overall to spark visiting Flintridge Sacred Heart to a 5-4 nonleague victory against Burroughs on Friday afternoon.

Flintridge Sacred Heart (2-1) clung to its slim lead before Burroughs (0-4) called timeout with 7.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Burroughs’ Aliya Edhe then launched a shot from the middle of the pool that Hinckley corralled.

“It’s all about being able to stay in the right position and watch the kind of shots that are being taken,” Hinckley said. “The ball hit my fingertips as the buzzer sounded.

“It comes down to being able to play good defense and we did that. You can be the best goalkeeper in the world, but if you don’t have a good defense in front of you, it can be hard.”

Mary Farley paced the Tologs with three goals. Farley’s final goal gave Flintridge Sacred Heart a 5-3 advantage with 2:48 left in the fourth quarter. Burroughs’ Kailee Groveman sliced the deficit to 5-4 with 2:32 remaining.

The Indians then had a couple of opportunities to get the equalizing goal, but couldn’t dent Hinckley.

Burroughs first-year Coach Michael Singhanate said the Indians played one of their better matches in the young season.

“We definitely played well and it was a good match,” said Singhanate, who got two goals from Cheyenne Morrison and five saves from goalkeeper Tyler Erickson. “On the last play, we got the shot off and just ran out of time.

“The way we look at it is that we played good defense the whole way. We go out there and learn from our mistakes and move forward.”

Burroughs took a 1-0 lead when Sophia Piedrahita scored with 2:55 left in the first quarter. Flintridge Sacred Heart responded with a goal of its own 26 seconds later by Farley.

The Tologs took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Maddy Dulcich with 6:42 remaining in the second quarter. Morrison then scored a pair of goals 80 seconds apart to give the Indians a 3-2 advantage. Farley knotted it at 3 with 3:36 left in the first half.

“[Burroughs] did a great job at driving, especially in the first half,” said Flintridge Sacred Heart second-year Coach Carlos Ponce, who coached at Burroughs for six seasons. “In the fourth quarter, we got into a groove and didn’t panic when they made it 5-4.

“With Elizabeth, she was great and she was ready to react on that final shot. She’s one of our main players and provides a lot of leadership. We have a young team and the rest of the players look to her for guidance.”

It marked the first visit to Burroughs for Ponce since he left following the 2011 season.

Ponce, who also coached the Burroughs boys’ water polo team, said he tried to block that out while coaching on the pool deck.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been here and I loved my time here,” Ponce said. “I’m happy at Flintridge Sacred Heart and trying to make our team better.

“I know Michael will do good things with Burroughs. He will get them on the right track.”

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