BURBANK — Even before its doubleheader as part of the Burbank Tournament, the Hoover High girls’ water polo team had already removed a monkey from its collective backs. After going winless last campaign, the Tornadoes notched their first win of this season with an overtime victory over Oaks Christian on Tuesday.
“Last year in 2012-13 we didn’t win a game and I know a lot of the girls were disappointed by that,” Hoover Coach Kevin Witt said, “and they put in a lot of work this summer and in the preseason ... the girls are really excited to see their hard work pay off.”
On Friday, Hoover added another victory by winning the front half of the doubleheader, 7-6, over Marymount to begin competition in pool play of the fifth annual Burbank tourney, meaning a second victory in the back half would make the Tornadoes the winner of the three-team Pool C.
“We did a very good job in the beginning of limiting their good shots,” Witt said of his team’s win over Marymount. “Then late in game we did a very good job of helping each other.”
To win its pool and remain perfect for the day, Hoover would need to defeat Alemany, which also beat Marymount earlier in the day. However, the Warriors did not cooperate and defeated the Tornadoes, 14-3.
“[Alemany] was a strong team and we were coming off a win,” Witt said. “The girls haven’t played many games this year and the other team looked more experienced.”
Alemany (5-1) overpowered Hoover on the strength of seven goals from Andrea Montes de Oca, including both of the Warriors’ goals in the first period. Montes de Oca’s first came 1:28 into the game and the second came 22 seconds later on a breakaway she finished with a lob shot. The Tornadoes (2-3) held after that and trailed, 2-0, after one period.
One minute into the second period, the Warriors pushed the advantage to 4-0 on Montes de Oca’s skip shot past Hoover goalkeeper Jasmine Trinidad. Eighteen seconds later, Hoover got onto the scoreboard when Maggie Amirian converted a five-meter penalty shot with a hard blast to the right of the goalkeeper.
Palie Karananougian scored the Tornadoes’ second goal of the period on an assist from Amirian, but not before Alemany had put in two more of its own. Montes de Oca then answered with two more goals and Hoover trailed, 8-2, at half.
“I think we were more disorganized than them being organized,” Witt said. “I think our balance at times caused some of our girls to get confused and we made mistakes off that.”
In the third period, Hoover reined in the Warriors on offense and limited them to a single goal, but that was one more than the Tornadoes would get and they trailed, 9-2, after three quarters.
Montes de Oca opened the final period by scoring her sixth and seventh goals of the game in the first 1:34 of the fourth. Hoover’s Lalageh Heneton followed that with a goal from the front of the net with 3:58 to go for her team’s final score. Alemany’s Carolina Ancona then scored all three of her goals in the contest’s final 3:32 to reach the final margin.
With the one-win, one-loss day on Friday, Hoover finished second in Pool C and will play Pool B second-place Notre Dame Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
“The rest of the tournament is going to be difficult,” Witt said. “I expect our girls to go home and get rest and then come back with vigor.”