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Hatzer held her own as Falcons leader

Senior Sabrina Hatzer's first starting experience was a key to Crescenta Valley's stellar campaign

April 07, 2012|By Gabriel Rizk
(Tim Berger/Staff…)

Much ado was made about the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team losing 12 seniors and returning just one true starter from its 2011 CIF semifinalist squad.

Along the same lines, much was overlooked as to what the Falcons did bring back, namely their second-leading scorer Sabrina Hatzer, who accomplished the feat while coming off the bench.

To be sure, it took an entire cast of former role players ready to take the lead in order for Crescenta Valley to remain at a championship level, both in the Pacific League and CIF Southern Section Division V. But Hatzer was most certainly a key to the Falcons' second straight run to the semifinals, the program's savior hiding in plain sight.

"That kind of encapsulates her personality in that she's really just very humble," Falcons Coach Pete Loporchio says. "I'm convinced she could have done the same thing last year, should we have chosen to."

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Hatzer continued to score at a dizzying pace – her 106 goals were the fourth all-time single-season total in program history -- and the Falcons continued business as usual without missing a beat. They maintained a stranglehold on the Pacific League, going undefeated and winning a third straight outright title. While some assumed the team was resigned to a rebuilding phase, the Falcons instead repeated last year's march to the semifinals and did so without losing a match – their 9-7 loss to eventual division champion Temescal Canyon was the first in a remarkable 31-1 campaign.

"I couldn't be more proud of my team," Hatzer says. "We made it so far, we put so many hours into practice and to games and just overall I couldn't be more proud.

"Looking back, how we ended up, it was just phenomenal seeing everyone improve."

When it came down to awards, Hatzer was voted Pacific League Most Valuable Player and an All-CIF Division V first-team member after leading her team with 3.6 goals per match in the playoffs.

Finally, Hatzer was recognized as the All-Area Girls' Water Polo Player of the Year by the sportswriters and editors of the Glendale News-Press, Burbank Leader, La Canada Valley Sun and Pasadena Sun.

"She brings a lot of versatility besides just being a pure scorer," Loporchio says of Hatzer, who also recorded 61 steals and 42 assists. "She's a passer, she was our primary sprinter, many times we had to match her up with some of the better offensive players. She has tremendous ball-handling skills and is as good a passer as she is probably a scorer."

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