Spartans water polo flips switch in win

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — When the La Cañada High boys’ water polo team saw its five-goal lead trimmed to three in about a minute and a half, the Spartans realized it was time to put their Rio Hondo League game with Temple City out of reach.

Chase Borisoff led La Cañada in that effort, as he scored three straight goals in a matter of 1:16 to guide the Spartans on a nine-goal run to close out the quarter. Temple City managed to improve on its 15-goal loss to La Cañada earlier this year, but still came nowhere close to a victory on the Spartans’ senior day Tuesday, 19-9.

“We came out and were missing some shots, so it was time to pick it up. We can’t come out in big games on that lull, so we just have to know what it’s like to turn on that switch and go for it,” said Borisoff, who finished with four goals, six assists and four steals. “Senior day is a big day for me, it’s one of the last games I get to play in this pool, where I basically live, so it was good to come out, play like that, get everyone involved and just have a good time.”

La Cañada (14-6, 5-0 in league) took a 5-0 lead out of the gate on two goals from Borisoff and three goals from Symeon Stefan, who finished with a game-high seven goals and two assists, in the first six minutes. Temple City cut the advantage to three, 6-3, about two minutes into the second quarter with Vincent Sicat scoring all three goals for the Rams.

Borisoff quickly ended any hope of a Rams rally with three quick goals. His first came 15 second after Sicat’s final tally when lobbed a shot over his head with his back to the goal that went over a Temple City defender, who was leaning over him attempting to deny a shot, and the goalkeeper. Thirty-three seconds later Borisoff scored again on a cross-pool pass from Alden Geller. Borisoff pushed the lead to six, 9-3, 43 seconds after that, as he lobbed another ball into the top right corner of the cage, as the Temple City defense, including the goalie, was looking to deny a pass to two-meter man Bryce Hopkins (three goals, two assists).

The Spartans, who are ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division I, built on that momentum with Peter Loakes, Stefan and Nathan Dickie scoring in the final 1:14 to give them a 12-3 lead going into halftime.

“I finally kind of yelled at them and they turned it on all of a sudden,” La Cañada Coach Devon Borisoff said. “They need that little wake-up call sometimes. They came into the game a little relaxed because we obviously beat them by 15 goals a couple of weeks ago. It’s kind of hard to get them psyched up for a game like that, especially since we have about seven games this week.”

The Rams, who were kept in the game thanks to their goalie Adrian Rodriguez (20 saves), managed to outscore La Cañada, 4-2, in the third quarter, but were outmatched in the fourth, 5-2, as Stefan and Hopkins had three goals and two goals and an assist in the second half, respectively. Borisoff continued his strong play with pinpoint passing, as he tallied four assists over the final 14 minutes.

Senior Nathan Dickie got the start in La Cañada’s final home game of the regular season and scored in the process for the Spartans, who got 12 blocks, two assists and two steals from junior goalie Jeff Lee.

La Cañada takes on Servite Wednesday at Pasadena City College at 5 p.m. before traveling to Monrovia Thursday at 3:30 p.m. A victory over the Wildcats will wrap up a third straight, 19th overall league title for the Spartans, as every other team has at least two losses already.

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