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Crescenta Valley Streak Is at Witt's End, 17-16

Water polo: His seven goals help Glendale hand Falcons first defeat after 38 league victories.


LA CRESCENTA — Kevin Witt scored twice in the last three minutes and Joao Cepeda converted from the hole with 31 seconds left to complete a fourth-quarter comeback that gave Glendale High a 17-16 water polo victory over Crescenta Valley in a Pacific League opener Wednesday at Crescenta Valley.

Glendale snapped a 38-game league winning streak by Crescenta Valley, which has won the last six Pacific championships.

"Now they have to start over from zero," Witt said with a grin.

Witt scored four goals in the last eight minutes, including three in the fourth quarter and one on a half-court shot to end the third quarter.

Glendale (7-1) trailed, 14-12, going into the last quarter.

"We just did not finish them off," Crescenta Valley Coach Pete Loporchio said.

Witt's goal from near half-court after a Crescenta Valley turnover gave the Dynamiters their first lead, 15-14, with three minutes left.

Earlier, Witt made a steal that led to Andrew Sung's goal that tied the game, 14-14, with just over five minutes to play, and Witt tied the game, 16-16, on a shot taken while defender Robert Curreri of Crescenta Valley was draped all over him with 52 seconds left.

"These are the games, man," Witt said. "In the second half, I was just trying to bust it up."

Witt, who led the region in scoring last season with 114 goals, finished with seven and has 50 this season. He made seven steals, including four in the fourth quarter.

"He's a phenomenal player," Loporchio said of Witt. "He's good, and he makes his teammates good."

Witt's end proved much better than his beginning. He was hampered for much of the game by two ejection fouls picked up in the first five minutes. A third one would have resulted in his ejection from the game.

Until Witt got going, it was Cepeda who gave the Dynamiters their second-half firepower by scoring three times in the first 3:08 of the third quarter and helping Glendale stay within range after Justin Payne and Carlos Pelayo each scored five first-half goals to give Crescenta Valley a 10-6 halftime lead.

"We knew we were there," Cepeda said. "We just had to stay close. This is a great win. We've waited for this for a long time."

Even though Witt was dominant at the end, six players scored for Glendale, which has not won a league title since 1979.

Payne and Pelayo each scored seven goals for the Falcons (8-4), whose league winning streak dated to 1992. Kenny Carpenter scored the other two goals for Crescenta Valley.

Payne, who hit a four-meter penalty shot with 1:05 remaining to give Crescenta Valley its last lead, 16-15, has 56 goals this season. Pelayo has 47 and Carpenter 42.

Despite their best efforts, however, the Falcons were outscored, 5-2, in the last quarter.

"We were playing not to lose at the end," Pelayo said.

"We kind of backed off a little bit, and instead of trying to score and get some insurance, we were playing defense."

And the Falcons had no defense against Witt.

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