Slow start holds back Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo in loss to San Marcos

PASADENA — After overcoming a four-goal deficit once, the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team attempted to accomplish the feat a second time.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, they couldn't replicate their first comeback.

PHOTOS: Crescenta Valley vs. San Marcos girls' water polo

“We haven't been putting together good first quarters lately,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Brent Danna, whose team suffered a 10-6 nonleague home defeat against San Marcos on Saturday afternoon at Pasadena City College. “We are not making smart passes or decisions with the ball and have not been able to execute properly.

“We scheduled a team like San Marcos, which moves the ball very well. It was hard to get things going early on.”

Crescenta Valley, which won the CIF Southern Section Division V championship last season and is ranked third in the latest division poll, dropped to 18-5. San Marcos, ranked eighth in Division I, improved to 14-7.

The Royals jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on goals by Haile Johnson, Hailey Gellert and Kate Coski and extended their lead to 4-0 on a goal by Riley Heiduk with 2:48 left in the second quarter before the Falcons mounted their comeback.

Audrey Taylor scored a pair of goals in the final 43 seconds of the first half to slice the deficit to 4-2. Crescenta Valley, which won the Pacific League championship last season, then received one goal apiece from Ani Aghakhanian and Brynn Fernandez less than two minutes apart to knot it at 4.

Heiduk then restored the Royals' lead at 5-4 with a goal with 4:04 left in the third quarter. After Taylor couldn't convert on a five-meter shot with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter, San Marcos got a goal each from Heiduk and Paige Hauschild less than a minute apart to make it 7-4.

Taylor said the Falcons ran out of steam after catching the Royals.

“It's tough when you get behind like we did,” Taylor said. “We needed to be able to come out harder.

“We just haven't been able to come out stronger these last couple of games. We need to have our heads in the game right away.”

After San Marcos grabbed an 8-4 lead on a five-meter goal by Hauschild, her second in the match, with 4:33 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Falcons got a goal each from Audrey Taylor and Ashley Taylor in a 44-second span to pull to within 8-6. Coski then closed out the scoring with a pair of goals.

“We had to play at our best and we had some trouble in different areas,” said Danna, the reigning All-Area Girls' Water Polo Coach of the Year. “We turned the ball over at the perimeter and we couldn't move the ball too well in our man-advantage opportunities.

“We need to have that confidence in being able to execute.”

Crescenta Valley will next meet host Riverside Poly, ranked first in Division V, in a nonleague match at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. Crescenta Valley posted a 10-5 victory against Riverside Poly in the championship contest last season in Irvine.

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