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Crescenta Valley water polo finds success in CIF playoff warmup

Water polo: Falcons girls' team travels to ranked La Serna and earn impressive 10-5 victory.

February 14, 2014|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

WHITTIER — While most teams would probably still be basking in the glory after winning a league championship, the members of the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team went right back to the pool looking to fine tune some areas of their game Friday.

After capturing the Pacific League championship for the fifth season in a row on Thursday, Crescenta Valley enjoyed a brief celebration before making the trek to meet host La Serna in a nonleague match Friday.

Crescenta Valley passed its final regular-season test before beginning defense of its CIF Southern Section Division V crown, as Ashley Taylor collected a team-high four goals and Elissa Arnold added two goals and four steals to earn a 10-5 victory.

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"I'm very happy in getting this win because they came ready to play," said Crescenta Valley Coach Brent Danna, whose team improved to 22-6. "I'm extremely happy with the effort and the execution.

"They had great defensive awareness throughout the game and that's one of the things we wanted to work on heading into the playoffs. That's why you play a team like La Serna because you might see a team like them in CIF. These are the kind of matches that get you ready for the playoffs."

Crescenta Valley, ranked third in the latest Division V poll, got two goals from Any Aghakhanian and one apiece from Brynn Fernandez and Audrey Taylor to turn back La Serna (15-13) for the second time in less than a month. The Falcons picked up an 11-10 win against the Lancers, who won the Del Rio League championship and are ranked eighth in Division IV, on Jan. 25 in an America's Finest City Tournament match in La Jolla.

On Friday, the Falcons led throughout and held the Lancers at bay.

Ashley Taylor broke a 2-2 deadlock with 4:35 remaining in the first quarter. She then scored with 1:48 to play in the quarter before Aghakhanian closed out the first-quarter, scoring 38 seconds later.

"We knew we had to come out by being calm," Ashley Taylor said. "With league now being over, we could come out and work on things like our cross passing because that's something you need to be good at in the playoffs.

"I think we will have a good chance at winning CIF again if we can come out strong, like we did today. That will be the key factor because everybody will be ready for us."

Crescenta Valley made it 6-2 on a goal by Fernandez with 5:47 remaining in the second quarter. The Falcons held a 6-2 advantage before the Lancers made their comeback bid.

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