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La Canada water polo teammates split Rio Hondo League honor

A team built around either Chase Borisoff or Symeon Stefan likely would have been a favorite to capture the Rio Hondo League boys’ water polo crown this season. The fact that La Canada High had both talented senior utilities in the same lineup made it practically a foregone conclusion that the Spartans would capture their league crown.

That was acknowledged in the all-league voting, which elected Borisoff and Stefan as co-most valuable players while tabbing an overall total of seven members of the Spartans that ran the table in league at 8-0 and finished 23-9, one win shy of the CIF Southern Section Division III title.

“Chase and Symeon were our best two offensive players, by far,” Spartans Coach Devin Borisoff said. “Symeon is an unbelievable shooter, if you leave him open he will score on you. He had a great season and he’s a great kid. We would not have been in the position we were without Symeon.

“Symeon was our best shooter, but Chase was our best player and the stats kind of back it up. He didn’t have as many goals, but where Chase really shines are the other statistics. He’s one of those players that do all the little things that it takes to win a game.”

Borisoff’s numbers were impressive across the spectrum, as he finished the season with 108 goals, a team-high 135 assists, 47 steals and 78 ejections drawn, which also led the team.

“That’s a goal of mine for as long as I’ve been playing water polo and I’m glad I could end my career like that,” Chase Borisoff said of getting co-MVP. “I’ve always prided myself on my ability to pass the ball because in my mind setting someone up for a goal is just as good as scoring a goal.”

Stefan led the Spartans in scoring with 142 goals and notched 51 steals, which was second most on the team.

“It’s quite flattering,” Stefan said of the recognition. “It’s been a great season and our whole team put in a lot of work throughout the season and we obviously had a good amount of success. It’s just been a really great year.”

Another key to the Spartans’ rousing success was the strong supporting cast around Borisoff and Stefan, which included senior first-team picks Alden Geller and Bryce Hopkins.

Geller, a left-handed driver, notched 77 goals and 42 steals.

“Alden is a huge leader for our team,” Devin Borisoff said. “Alden did everything I asked of him always and he really blossomed this year. He had his best season of his career, he was absolutely awesome this year.”

Hopkins, a hole/set, scored 47 times, tallied 38 steals and drew 37 ejections.

“Bryce really stepped it up this year,” Devin Borisoff said. “It’s absolutely vital, you have to have a good hole man to force drops or to pound the ball into or to just get draw some ejections when you’re having a hard time shooting the ball.

“Bryce is a load, he’s a hard guy to deal with.”

Making the second team were senior driver Johnny Louk, who scored 52 goals, dished out 26 assist and notched 21 steals, and junior two-meter defender Justin Moh, who drew 22 ejections and had 35 steals.

“Johnny’s an incredible senior leader for us. ...He had a great season also,” Devin Borisoff said. “[Moh] is guarding guys that outweigh him by 100 pounds or more sometimes and he does an amazing job with it. He’s got a motor that won’t quit.”

Junior Jeff Lee earned a second-team goalkeeper nod with 201 saves, eight assists and 22 steals.

Junior two-meter defender Peter Loakes made the honorable mention list after totaling 27 goals, 39 assists and 67 steals. Borisoff said Loakes was also the fastest swimmer on the team and excelled at sprints.