LA CRESCENTA — During a stellar start to the season, the Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo team has displayed stingy defense, steady, balanced offense, phenomenal work ethic and the ability to take down higher-division heavyweights.
But in the span of two days, above all else, the Falcons have displayed sheer dominance.
On Wednesday afternoon at CV, the host Falcons announced their presence with authority at the expense of San Marino to the tune of a 19-2 nonleague victory.
It came a day after Crescenta Valley (11-1) throttled South Pasadena, 18-3, with 10 Falcons scoring goals. On Wednesday, the Falcons got scores from 11 players to stifle the Titans (5-5) from beginning to end.
"They're easily the toughest team we've played," said San Marino Coach Mark Barr, whose team took fourth in the Rio Hondo League, which was won by South Pas, a season ago. "I knew coming in how strong they were. They're really solid from top to bottom."
The Falcons, ranked second in CIF Southern Section Division V, got three goals apiece from Shannon Hovanesian and Lynley Fernandez, who was celebrating her birthday, while Breanna Lawton, Ashley Taylor, Any Aghakhanian and Audrey Taylor added two each. Gabriel Isacson made five first-half saves, while Maggie Connell had five in the second half.
"Basically, what I'm looking for from the girls is a good start every day and a strong full, four quarters," said first-year Falcons Coach Brent Danna, whose team recently defeated Harvard-Westlake, ranked No. 1 in Division III, to take the Mistletoe Tournament and has only lost to Division II 10th-ranked Martin Luther King. "I would say I'm content with the season so far, but [if] you get overconfident, that's when things bite you.
"Eleven-1, you're happy, but we can always get better."
Elissa Arnold scored the match's first goal just 15 seconds in, but San Marino's Kate Scanelle tied the match with 6:12 to go in the first quarter. Scanelle would score both of the Titans' goals, but her second wouldn't come until after the Falcons had built a 6-1 lead.
After the score stayed tied at 1 for a bit, Hovanesian scored a pair of goals to begin a streak of five Falcons goals in just a minute and five seconds.
A Lawton goal with a second left in the half took the Falcons into intermission with a 12-2 lead, as they'd already begun to mix in substitutes.
"It's always good to test your depth," Danna said.
More subs came in the second half, but the Falcons' dominance didn't wane, as they won the final 14 minutes, 7-0.
"I'm so excited," said Hovanesian of the team's start to the season. "The whole team is excited."
And, despite the lopsided loss, Barr is pleased with his team's progress, as well, as it's coming off a second-place finish on Saturday in the Burbank Tournament.
"[On Wednesday], we wanted to see if we could execute and play against a good team. There were some good things we did and some things we should've done better," said Barr, who got six saves from goalie Tess Denham. "From where I thought we'd be, I'm actually pretty happy where we are. For us to be in the finals of the Burbank Tournament was huge for us."
For Crescenta Valley, practice and preparation has been huge.
Prior to the San Marino match, the Falcons did weight training from 6:15 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and roughly an hour before the match swam 3,000 yards, Danna said.
"Every day, our whole team tries to give 110% to practice," Hovanesian said. "The intensity we bring to practice we hope to bring to the game. The workouts we do are difficult, but we hope they prepare us.
"I think our goal is to be the best team we can possibly be at the end of the season."