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La Canada Reaches Goal, Wins Section Title, 12-6

Water polo: Spartans score six times in the first quarter and turn back Crescenta Valley.


LONG BEACH — Coach Larry Naeve of La Canada High had plenty of time to prepare for the celebratory plunge this time.

Nearly three quarters.

With ear plugs firmly in place, Naeve went willingly and without much prodding into the pool after watching the Spartans trounce Crescenta Valley, 12-6, Tuesday night in the Southern Section Division III championship game at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool.

Naeve's last dip in 1997 after La Canada won the Division III title in overtime left him needing ear surgery a few weeks later.

Two years later, Naeve came prepared.

And so did the Spartans.

Top-seeded La Canada (26-3), three-time section champion, bolted to a 6-1 lead in the first quarter and were never threatened.

"That [first quarter] set the tempo for the whole game," Coach Pete Loporchio of Crescenta Valley said. "They just played great defense."

Cyrus Jamenjad scored three of his four goals in La Canada's first quarter, rendering a good Crescenta Valley defense mediocre.

"I played poorly in the last couple of games and I really thought I needed to step up and do my job," said Jamenjad, sporting red-dyed hair like most of his teammates.

It took Crescenta Valley's Carlos Pelayo only 19 seconds to score the first goal.

But it was all La Canada after the first salvo, with three goals from Jamenjad, two from Ben Jorgensen and another by Bryan Hiscox in the first quarter.

No. 2 Crescenta Valley, which relies heavily on Pelayo and Jeff Little for its offense, had a tough time defending La Canada's balanced attack. Five players scored for the Spartans, who led, 8-3, at halftime.

"That's what we do," Naeve said. "I've tried to build this team so you can't take one of them out. You can't really count on one person to win a game."

The Falcons (25-3) came within four goals twice, but could get no closer.

Leading, 9-5, after three quarters, the Spartans got goals from Devin McIntire and Jorgensen in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter and cruised for the victory. Jorgensen finished with four goals, McIntire two.

The Falcons made 18 turnovers and only six of 23 shots, most of the misses bouncing off the goal.

"We didn't execute real well," Loporchio said. "Just look at our turnovers an shot attempts and they'll tell the story."

Goalie Lloyd Masson of La Canada had eight saves.

Spartan starters were pulled with less under two minutes left.

"They had to tell me to call a timeout to get the other kids in," Naeve said.

"I wanted to get them in but this game I just wanted to get over with."

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