Hoover High girls' water polo stumbles in Pacific League opener

GLENDALE — Attendance wasn’t exemplary during the recent holiday break.

While the members of the Hoover High girls’ water polo had time to soak in the holiday festivities, Tornadoes Coach Kevin Witt said about half of the team didn’t show up to the multiple practice sessions during the break in order to gear up for the most important part of the season — Pacific League action.

Witt’s worst fears became a reality Wednesday, as Hoover struggled to put things together in a 15-2 home defeat against Arcadia in a league opener for both teams.

“During the last two weeks, we had poor attendance and it resulted in a poor showing today,” said Witt, whose team dipped to 2-5. “We had been making improvements since the summer until the winter break, but then we had that gap.

“We have a bright future, but they have to be willing to put in the work. We were not ready to play today. We now have to move forward.”

Arcadia (6-3) came prepared to tackle Hoover. The Apaches, coached by former Hoover Coach Ara Oganesyan, received a match-best eight goals from Laura Chun to turn back the Tornadoes. Shannon Diep and Niko Vagenas added two goals apiece for the Apaches, who built a 9-0 advantage early in the third quarter.

Diep tallied a pair of goals in the final minute of the second quarter to help Arcadia built a 7-0 advantage. She finished with four first-half goals.

Hoover got both of its goals from Maggie Amirian, a sophomore utility player.

Amirian said the Tornadoes couldn’t overcome their slow start.

“We tried hard, but we were kind of nervous,” Amirian said. “I don’t know what happened.

“We definitely can get better and we will.”

Amirian derailed Arcadia’s bid for a shutout when she scored with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter to narrow the deficit to 9-1. She then scored a man-advantage goal with 1:44 left in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.

Oganesyan said the Apaches expected a stiff test from the Tornadoes.

“We were concerned about them before the game,” Oganesyan said. “We had seen Hoover and knew they were a much improved team.

“We knew we had to be prepared for them. It’s huge any time you can start off league with a win.”

Hoover, which received seven saves from goalkeeper Jasmine Trinidad, will next take part in another league home match at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday against Burbank.

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