Hoping to hit its stride in the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, the La Cañada High boys’ water polo team took a confident first step in Wednesday night’s first-round match against San Juan Hills at Burbank High.
Led by six goals from Chase Borisoff and three apiece from Symeon Stefan and Bryce Hopkins the host Spartans lived up to their top seeding in a 17-7 win that was never close after the first quarter.
“This is the first round and we’re the No. 1 seed, so we’re expected to win this game,” La Cañada Coach Devon Borisoff said. “We handled them pretty well there, we did a good job on defense. …We came out and we handled our business, which is all we’re trying to do.”
The win earned La Cañada (21-6) a second-round home match against Santiago Corona on Saturday.
Borisoff scored three goals in the opening period to help the Spartans open up a 6-2 lead. He assisted on Justin Moh’s man-advantage tally to open scoring at the 6:27 mark and gave La Cañada a 2-1 lead on a five-meter conversion a little over two minutes later.
The Stallions (14-12) would tie the game up for the last time at the 3:53 mark before La Cañada began a game-breaking 8-0 run leading into halftime.
Hopkins made it 7-2 with 4:45 left in the second quarter on a scoop shot before Peter Loakes scored on a breakaway from Stefan off Stefan’s steal with 4:07 to go. Borisoff scored the last two goals of the half, including a short lob over the goalkeeper in a one-on-none situation with 54 seconds left.
“We’ve got to come out and show we’re ready to handle business,” Chase Borisoff said. “This was a little easier one, but if we come out slow in a big game, then we’re going to fall behind and get in trouble.”
La Cañada encountered little trouble over the rest of Wednesday’s match, answering San Juan Hill’s goal that opened third-quarter scoring at the 5:40 mark with a quick three-goal spurt of its own from Hopkins, Loakes and Borisoff. When the Stallions finished off the third period on a 3-1 run to cut the lead back down to single digits, 14-9, going into the fourth, the Spartans fired back with three more unanswered.
About the only blemish for the Spartans on the night was Stefan’s ejection from the match for a foul that came at the 5:22 mark of the fourth just after he had scored to put the match well out of reach at 16-6.
“We had a lot of little mess-ups, we’ve got some stuff we need to work on before our next game,” Chase Borisoff said, “but we’ll get it taken care of.”