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Spartans steamroll into semis

Water Polo: Mammoth 11-0 run keys dominant 19-7 quarterfinal win for Spartans.

November 10, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com

BURBANK — For a span of more than 12 minutes on Saturday afternoon, the La Cañada High boys’ water polo team held visiting Corona Santiago without a goal.

Equally impressive and perhaps more devastating, the Spartans riddled the Sharks for 11 goals in that same span.

Behind an opportunistically dominant defense, a potently accurate offense and a tidal wave of momentum, No. 1 seed La Cañada made an emphatic statement with a 19-7 throttling of Santiago in the CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinals at Burbank High.

“Eleven-0 run, obviously that put the game away,” said first-year Spartans Coach Devon Borisoff, whose team advanced to Wednesday’s semifinal against Palos Verdes at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Irvine. “We feel good going into the semis. Guys are playing well right now. I think we’re peaking at the right time now.

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“We definitely should have confidence, we’re rocking and rolling right now.”

After a contentious start, the Spartans (22-8), champions of the Rio Hondo League, began rolling right over Santiago (17-10), which took second in the Big VIII League.

Leading, 5-4, after the opening quarter, the Spartans began to dominate when Symeon Stefan, who tallied a match-high seven goals, tallied a natural hat trick in a stanza that La Cañada won, 3-0.

With an 8-4 halftime lead, the Spartans’ dominance began in the second quarter, but reached its zenith in the third quarter, as they ran off seven straight goals to start, building a 15-4 lead.

“I feel like we had a little bit of a rough start in the beginning, but then we started figuring out what they were doing,” said La Cañada’s Peter Loakes, who had the final goal of the run, his only score of the match, but added eight steals and three assists. “We were kind of unstoppable in the second and third quarters.”

Unstoppable and impenetrable.

In the second quarter, Santiago had but one shot and that didn’t come until there was 3:18 to go in the half. For the game, the Spartans garnered 25 steals.

“We were playing really good defense after the first quarter,” Loakes said.

Offensively, the Spartans were deadly. They scored on their first seven shots of the third quarter.

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