First published in the Oct. 30 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
The Glendale High School varsity boys’ water polo team secured third place in the Pacific League Tournament with a narrow 16-14 victory over host Arcadia High on Thursday.
The Nitros finished with a 7-2 league record and are 8-7 overall heading into the CIF playoffs, which begin next week.
A team-high six-goal performance by Tigran Megroyan helped lead Glendale, which rallied in the second half for the victory.
“[Megroyan] was a focal point of the offense and he was staying calm,” said Narek Vardanian, Glendale’s head coach. “We kind of lost our cool on Tuesday, so the fact that we were able to be more mentally stronger today meant that we were able to bounce back. It kind of makes you feel good going into CIF next week.”
In a critical third quarter, Glendale outscored Arcadia by six goals to claim an 11-8 lead. Glendale’s Gregory Carrillo evened the match, 8-8, with 2:51 remaining before Megroyan’s fourth goal of the quarter broke the tie.
Gevorg Choginyan added one goal earlier in the quarter while Carrillo and Rudolf Hovhannisyan scored Glendale’s fourth and fifth consecutive goals to end the period with a three-goal lead.
“[Carrillo] and [Choginyan] had some steals. They aren’t really our top scorers but [Carrillo] had three goals and [Choginyan had one],” Vardanian said. “The fact that they were able to contribute on both ends was nice as well.”
Megroyan and Hovhannisyan each scored twice in the final quarter to make it 15-11, enough to secure a victory.
Carrillo scored Glendale’s final goal with 1:34 to play before Arcadia scored three straight times in the last minute for the 16-14 final.
Glendale’s Hayk Mkrtchyan had seven saves, including four in the fourth quarter.
Arcadia outscored Glendale in the first half, 6-3, including four consecutive goals to end the second quarter, setting the stage for the Nitros comeback victory. Hovhannisyan scored twice in the first half while Saren Vardanyan had one goal.
“We’ve been working really hard and hopefully we’ll be able to go far in CIF,” Vardanian said.
The Nitros kicked off their postseason run against visiting Temecula Valley on Nov. 2.