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Valley/Ventura County Sports | HIGH SCHOOL WATER POLO
NOTEBOOK

Goal-Oriented Falitz Sets Burroughs Mark

November 04, 1998|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

He doesn't have the size of Alfonso Tucay, but the accomplishments this season of Jason Falitz of Burroughs High are no small potatoes.

Falitz scored 10 goals in Burroughs' 32-6 victory Friday over Mark Keppel, giving him 162 and breaking Tucay's school record for goals in a season.

"When the season started it wasn't really one of my goals," said Falitz, a junior who is friends with Tucay, now at UCLA. "It was always in the back of my head, but it didn't seem possible."

The amazing part about the record is the 6-foot-1, 150-pound Falitz has set it while playing the two-meter position, normally reserved for larger players like Tucay, who was 6-4 and 260 pounds when he set the record.

"I don't really think about the weight," Falitz said. "When you're in the water, it's not like being on land."

Coach Rey Rivera said Falitz compensates for his lack of size and strength with a decided advantage in speed and quickness.

"He can usually get to the ball faster than most of the defenders and he'll usually put it away before they get there," Rivera said.

"He's got a full bag of tricks when it comes to shooting. He can score from inside and outside just as easily. His strength is his accuracy. The ball usually goes to the open spot."

Rivera said Falitz has developed his passing ability, which has actually improved his scoring totals.

"He used to step up and try to be a superman," Rivera said. "Now others are shooting when they have an opportunity, so there's a lot less focus on him defensively by the other teams."

The state record for goals is 225 set by Gilbert Estrada of Bell Gardens in 1995. Only two players in state history have reached the 200-goal mark and with a minimum of three games remaining Falitz, who averages about seven goals a game, could be the third.

"It all depends on how far we go [in the playoffs]," Falitz said. "I'm just thinking about winning as many games as we can. . . ."

*

When Glendale and Crescenta Valley meet in the Pacific League tournament final Thursday at Arcadia High, the league title is not the only thing at stake.

Crescenta Valley's string of consecutive league titles is in jeopardy and Glendale is looking to win its first since 1979.

The Dynamiters have the advantage, having defeated Crescenta Valley, 17-16, in a league game earlier this season, and have clinched a share of the title.

The Falcons, who beat Glendale, 9-6, two days later in a South Bay tournament game, must win to keep their title streak alive.

Crescenta Valley, which had its 38-game league winning streak snapped by Glendale, clinched a share of the last six titles before the league tournament began.

*

The wacky ratings season for Harvard-Westlake continues.

Two weeks ago, the Wolverines lost to Long Beach Wilson, top-ranked in Southern Section Division I, and fell from No. 2 to No. 5.

Over the weekend, they finished fourth in the John Felix State Invitational in San Jose, losing to No. 2 Newport Harbor, 5-3, and North Coast Section champion Miramonte, 9-8, and climbed to No. 3.

The poll determines seeding for the Southern Section playoffs, which begin Tuesday.

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