"This is our CIF championship right here," said Burbank Coach James Berman, a former Bulldogs player. "We're rivals with this school, it's a friendly rivalry, but this means a lot to everyone."
Crescenta Valley (9-18, 4-4 in league) still finished third in league by virtue of its four regular-season wins, which, under the league's scoring system, are each worth a point apiece and were combined with the three points gained by a fourth-place tournament finish. Burbank (3-5 in league) finishes fourth in league.
After benching his starters while facing a 7-0 deficit late in the first half, Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju eventually went back to his starting lineup in time to make a move with a couple minutes elapsed in the third quarter.
Akopian gave Burbank its biggest lead of the match, 12-1, on a lob with 4:52 left in the third before Crescenta Valley ignited its run to get back in into it.
Brian Dertli (five goals) scored the first of three man-advantage goals for the Falcons in the third quarter at the 4:38 mark and Jonny Malmrose cashed in another 6-5 advantage just over 2:00 later. Dertli scored again at the 1:32 mark and Leo Rostamian scored the next two in succession for the Falcons, who trailed, 12-6, by the end of the period.
Crescenta Valley extended its run to 6-0 by scoring the first goal of the fourth quarter on a tally by Rostamian amid a man-advantage before Burbank countered with a Zack Card goal at the 5:38 mark.
The Falcons got within 13-9 on back-to-back goals by Dertli and came mere inches away from pulling within two when a subsequent attempt by Dertli just inside the 4:00 mark floated inside the cage before being saved just before reaching the back. Burbank then went back up, 14-9, on a goal by Savoy at the other end, the beginning of a 3-1 Burbank run to close out the scoring.
"That happens. If you go up by that much, there will be a point in the game where there's a lull," Berman said. "I called a timeout when they came within four kind of as just a momentum stopper and told them to just slow it down, start using every possession and play to win."
Burbank jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter and took full control of the match with a 4-0 run, including a run of three straight by Savoy, to begin the second. Sakonju made mass substitutions in the second quarter, which ended with the Falcons down, 9-1, after Griffin Harting's goal at the 2:08 mark that made it 7-1.
"We had meetings yesterday on exactly what we were going to do to shut it down," Berman said. "We followed our plan to a T and we got the result that we wanted."