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Spartans water polo staves off South Pas

Water polo: La Cañada goes undefeated in league with close victory over Tigers.

November 01, 2012|By Nathan Cambridge, Special to the Sun

LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — Rivalry games create intensity, the final game in league play with finishing position still not set creates intensity and the desire to carry on a legacy creates intensity.

All three factors were in play as South Pasadena High went up against host La Cañada in boys water polo Thursday afternoon. It was the final Rio Hondo game for the two rivals, with a victory for the Tigers cementing them into second place, while a win for the already league-champion Spartans meant a third straight undefeated Rio Hondo campaign.

“It’s always intense when we play South Pas,” La Cañada Coach Devon Borisoff said. “It’s our rival in every sport, it’s like USC-UCLA, and they always happen to be the second-best team in our league. So it’s always a close game no matter what with them.”

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The heated contest, which grew more physical as it progressed and was tight throughout, saw the visitors take a one-goal lead in the fourth quarter before La Cañada scored the final four to come away with a 17-14 victory.

“We really couldn’t ask for more than our team put out today,” South Pasadena Coach Robert Echeverria said.

After trailing throughout the entire first half, La Cañada (18-8, 8-0), ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division III, took a one-goal advantage into the final period before Tigers Wyatt Bukowski and Ryan McCarthy scored goals 35 seconds apart to seize the lead back at 14-13 with 4:58 to go. Soon after, an outside shot from South Pasadena (17-10, 5-3) by Pierce Deamer was blocked and La Cañada senior Symeon Stefan broke the other way with the ball. No one came to crowd him and the senior moved in before rifling the ball into the back of the cage to tie the score at 14 with 4:13 to go.

“These are the games when we just have to buckle down, put your head down, and work through it and that’s what we did,” Stefan said.

South Pasadena’s Alex Zoveined tried to knot the game back up again, but his hard skip shot hit the piping of the goal and rebounded back into the pool. On the ensuing breakout by the Spartans, Chase Borisoff, surrounded by three Tigers defenders, lobbed a shot over goalie Will Renken for the go-ahead score with 3:37 left.

“That was a great game to go out on in league. I’m a senior. That’s a great way to end my Rio Hondo career in our pool,” Chase Borisoff said.

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