La Canada water polo stifles San Marino in league opener

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — While the result was a lot different for both sides, the goal was the same in what was a blowout victory for the La Cañada High boys’ water polo team and a lopsided defeat for San Marino, 22-6, in Tuesday’s Rio Hondo League opener.

Both the Titans and Spartans called timeouts in the fourth quarter with the result already well in hand to run plays and improve their squads with the rest of the league season and CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs in mind.

“These are the types of games that give us the chance to work on smaller, more finite details of our game rather than just rushing to prepare for the next opponent,” said La Cañada assistant Kristen Dronberger, who stepped in for head coach Devon Borisoff after he was ejected from the team’s game at the Villa Park Tournament Saturday. “This allows us to get those fundamentals to be perfect and helps us get those younger plays in and getting them more time in the water.”

San Marino Coach Mark Barr said he hoped his team could keep the game within eight goals, but he was still content with his team’s performance, particularly in the second and third quarters.

“We’re just trying to play better each game,” Barr said. “With this result, we know what we have to do [to get better] in a week. Luckily the way league is drawn out, we get the best team and it gets progressively easier throughout the way. For what it’s worth, I’ll take La Cañada to start [the league season]. If we keep up this play we should be OK for the rest of league.”

La Cañada (8-6) put the game seemingly out of reach when it raced out to a 9-2 advantage at the end of the first quarter behind a stout defense and solid passing game. Seven of La Cañada’s first nine goals came off assists, as it scored four one-timer goals in a matter of one minute 45 seconds.

The first goal of La Cañada’s quick outburst came on a pass from Chase Borisoff, as he lobbed it over a San Marino defender to Justin Moh, who slammed it into the cage for a 6-0 lead with 3:33 left in the first quarter. Borisoff scored about 30 seconds later when he punched in another easy score off an Alden Geller pass.

Borisoff, who finished with three goals, four assists and two steals, said it was a good start to the league season for the Spartans, who regained their No. 1 ranking in CIF Southern Section Division III with an eighth-place finish in the Villa Park Tournament this past weekend.

“[League] gives us a nice break from the really intense games and gives us a lot of time to work on stuff we can’t really work on during those big games,” Chase Borisoff said. “Some games will be hard, like when we play South Pasadena we will have to bear down a little bit, but these really give us a chance to work on stuff.”

San Marino snapped La Cañada’s run with a goal from Derek Yeh with 2:47 left in the opening quarter. It didn’t slow down La Cañada’s offense, as Johnny Louk punched in another off a feed from Bryce Hopkins, who scored 30 seconds later off a Borisoff pass to give the Spartans a 9-1 edge.

The Titans (6-7) pulled within seven when Chris Jenkins scored with 21 seconds left in the quarter, but La Cañada didn’t give an inch in the second quarter, as it went up 13-3 at halftime behind two goals from Stefan and Louk.

“It’s a motivational thing,” said Louk, who finished with four goals, three steals and an assist, of the dominating win. “It boosts our morale and it’s really helpful because we have a really big game Saturday with Mira Costa. It will boost our morale and will help us put away our shots in the mental, psychological phase.”

Stefan enjoyed another big game, as he scored a team-high five goals, added three steals and an assist in the win for the Spartans, who also got four goals from Hopkins (four steals) and two each from Moh and Geller.

San Marino put together its finest performance in the third quarter, as the Spartans outscored it 4-2 in the seven-minute frame.

“I thought they weren’t mentally ready the first quarter,” Barr said, “in the second and third quarters I thought they played a lot better so that’s what we’re going to concentrate on — those two quarters and see if we can do them for 28 minutes.”

La Cañada will next face Temple City on the road Thursday at 3:30 p.m. before taking on sixth-ranked Mira Costa Saturday at Pasadena City College at 6 p.m.

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