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Bulldogs meet challenge

Boys' water polo: Burbank opens season with a 15-13 nonleague win against Flintridge Prep on the road.

September 07, 2011|By Jeff Tully, jeff.tully@latimes.com
(Raul Roa Staff Photographer )

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — It was a challenging way for the Flintridge Prep and Burbank High boys' water polo teams to begin their season Tuesday.

Because of technical difficulties at the Rebels' pool, the teams had to compete in their nonleague opener with no working scoreboard and no visible game clock.

Despite the problems, Bulldogs first-year Coach Adam Wright actually thought that what his squad didn't know during the contest might have actually helped it.

Although Burbank was missing some key players, it was able to stave off an unrelenting Flintridge Prep team to earn a 15-13 victory.

Wright, who served as the swim coach for more than 10 years, as well as an assistant water polo coach at Burbank, said his team was intent on going out and playing to its strengths.

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"With the problems with the pool Tuesday, and the fact that were able to overcome that, just shows our composure," Wright said. "We just had to battle back and play our game. Our guys didn't care that there wasn't a shot clock and they didn't care what the score was. It was something that maybe was good for us."

For Flintridge Prep, the loss to the Bulldogs definitely provided some bright spots for a team that is looking to improve after not being able to notch a win in Prep League play a year ago.

"We were just happy to be in the pool playing against someone," Coach Dan Hare said. "We haven't even started school yet, so this was nice to start the season and kinda see where we're at."

The Rebels were to able to stay in the match with Burbank due largely to the play of junior goalkeeper Brian Khin, who was making his first varsity start in the cage. Khin seemed fearless, continually thwarting Burbank's offense and coming up with big saves. He ended the match with 16 blocks.

"He's just not a typical kind of goalie," Hare said. "If he can play that way all year we're really going to have something. He really played his heart out and he was making a lot of those saves from point-blank range. Inside [five meters] he was just fearless."

The Bulldogs were missing their leading scorer from a year ago, Sam Akopian, who was still awaiting the completion of his paperwork for his physical. In his place, the team received six goals from Dante Nazarian and four from Zach Card. Daniel Gonzalez added two goals and Nick Erzumyan, Sean Savoy and Nicholas Vitaglano added a goal apiece.

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