First published in the Oct. 30 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Burbank High School’s varsity boys’ water polo team defeated Crescenta Valley High, 12-5, at Arcadia’s aquatic center in the Pacific League finals to capture the school’s first league championship in the sport since 1969.
The Bulldogs finished with a perfect 8-0 league record (19-2 overall) and secured a CIF berth behind solid offensive performances by Zack Gezalyan and Johnny Agazaryan, who scored four and three goals, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Falcons placed second with a 4-3 league record (11-15 overall).
“It’s amazing,” said David Arakelyan, Burbank’s head coach. “Honestly, just from day one, I knew these guys were here. They were ready to play. They put in so much work to get here and we’re just on top of the world right now.”
The Falcons opened the first quarter with a goal before Burbank responded with 10 unanswered over the next three quarters, making it 10-1 while holding CV scoreless.
Gezalyan scored his four goals in the second and third quarters, while all three of Johnny Agazaryan’s came in the first. Teammates Robert Kharazyan, Andranik Bilbulyan and Hovannes Baboudijian also added goals during Burbank’s scoring run.
CV ended Burbank’s streak with a goal with six seconds remaining in the third quarter to make it 10-2.
Burbank goalie Narek Galamdaryan was terrific with 14 saves in the match, including 10 in the first half.
“I was very happy with the offense, but I was happier with the defense,” Arakelyan said. “After that first goal [CV] scored, we clamped down, we shut them down and we shut down their offense. It was amazing, it was beautiful and it was a work of art.”
Burbank’s Danny Agazaryan and Hovannes Baboudijian each added one goal in the fourth quarter before CV scored with 2:07 remaining to trim the deficit to 12-5.
“From a performance standpoint, I think that you can’t get a better performance than that,” Arakelyan said. “But there are a couple tweaks and minor things that we need to do during practice leading up to CIF to make sure that we are mentally and physically prepared.”
The Bulldogs will kick off their postseason run and host Warren or Cathedral on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 5 p.m.