PASADENA — The fate of the Glendale High water polo team rested in the hands of goal keeper Sasoon Haghverdi.
Haghverdi blocked Joe Ondrejka's four-meter penalty shot with Glendale protecting a two-goal lead with 3:11 to play.
Haghverdi then made two saves in the final minute to preserve No. 6-ranked Glendale's 14-11 upset of defending Division III champion La Canada in a Southern Section quarterfinal game Tuesday at Pasadena College.
"I felt like that was the whole game right there," said Haghverdi, who played only the second half and made six saves. "When I blocked it, I got a tingling feeling inside my body.
"I said 'Yeah, we're gonna win this game.' "
Glendale (23-5), which will play the winner of today's Whittier-Upland quarterfinal, broke the game open when Zareh Galstyan scored three of his five goals in the final 6:20 of the third quarter.
Galstyan scored twice as Glendale scored four unanswered goals, building a 12-8 lead with 5:58 to play in the fourth quarter.
"I was shocked we were up by four goals," said Glendale Coach Pat Lancaster.
"I couldn't believe it. Everyone watches La Canada. They're the team to beat."
La Canada (14-12) trimmed the lead to 13-11 when Phil Webster scored with 3:11 to play in the fourth quarter. Ondrejka was awarded a penalty shot on the play.
Haghverdi made the save and turned the tide.
"I knew we would win if he blocked that shot," Galstyan said. "Our goalies were perfect [Tuesday]."
The senior Haghverdi and Jerry Sung combined to make 12 saves. Sung had six saves in the first half.
"It wasn't a great surprise that they can do that," said La Canada Coach Larry Naeve. "I always thought they were a very good team."
Glendale applied pressure in the third quarter. Galstyan scored his five goals consecutively. His goal with 1:59 to play in the second quarter tied the score, 6-6. He scored with 25 seconds to play to give Glendale a 7-6 halftime lead.
Haghverdi and Sung limited Ondrejka and Webster to three goals each. Matt Yang and Ryan McCune added two goals each for La Canada.
Jonathan Lee scored three goals for Glendale and Matt Hahn scored twice.
Lancaster credited the defensive work of Hahn, whose aggressive play hindered La Canada.
"He's big and fast and did a great job, especially on [Ondrejka]," Lancaster said. "I knew we would be able to swim with them."
Then Haghverdi saved the day. "I knew we would win this game," he said. "Rankings mean nothing."
* Foothill High eliminated Harvard-Westlake from the Division I water polo playoffs, 8-5. D11