BURBANK — In little time, the members of the Glendale High boys' water polo team have established themselves as the main target in their league and division.
Things came together, as they have most of the season, on both offense and defense for Glendale on Tuesday afternoon during a convincing 10-3 Pacific League victory against Crescenta Valley at Burroughs.
Glendale, which entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll and the defending league champion, improved to 14-5, 4-0 in league. Crescenta Valley, No. 8 in the division, dropped to 9-12, 2-2.
Glendale held Crescenta Valley at bay, mostly limiting the Falcons to shots from the perimeter. Glendale limited Crescenta Valley to 10 shots on goal, with goalkeeper David Tiraturyan finishing with seven saves.
The Nitros also received a match-best five goals from Martin Chatalyan to help Glendale improve to 2-0 this season against Crescenta Valley.
"Our goal coming in was to focus on playing strong defense," said Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook, whose team posted a 12-8 victory against Crescenta Valley in a Conejo Tournament match on Sept. 8. "They did a tremendous job at that, and I think we really only had two lapses.
"I thought we played an intelligent game all around and it showed throughout. There's a rivalry between the schools and CV has had our number before. So, it's nice to even up the score."
Glendale led throughout, getting a pair of late first-quarter goals from Chatalyan to build a 2-0 advantage. Chatalyan made it 1-0 with 3:11 remaining and then scored to make it 2-0 with 59 seconds left.
Chatalyan said he had an inkling he would be called upon to ignite Glendale's offense since Crescenta Valley's plan of attack was to shut down prolific goal scorer Arman Momdzhyan.
"I knew CV would drop down on Arman," said Chatalyan, who completed his hat trick with 1:06 remaining in the second quarter to give the Nitros a 3-1 lead after Crescenta Valley's Daniel Park scored 34 seconds earlier. "I knew I had to go out there and score some big goals for us.
"All of these games are very important. You can't be lazy. You have to be prepared because we are the top team in our division and league."
Glendale received a pair of goals apiece from Momdzhyan and David Papazian and one from Artak Arzumyan. Arzumyan scored to give the Nitros a 4-1 lead with seven seconds remaining in the first half.
Chatalyan and Momdzhyan scored 72 seconds apart to give Glendale a 6-1 lead midway through the third quarter. Trevor Goddard of Crescenta Valley trimmed the deficit to 6-2 with 2:23 left in the third quarter. Chatalyan completed the scoring in the third quarter, as he scored on a skip shot at the buzzer to make it 7-2.
Papazian and Momdzhyan scored in a 34-second stretch early in the fourth quarter to give the Nitros a 9-2 lead. Griffin Harting of Crescenta Valley and Papazian swapped goals late in the fourth quarter to finish the scoring.
Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said the Falcons turned in a better effort against the Nitros Tuesday compared to the first meeting.
"I definitely thought we did a better job today," said Sakonju, whose team came up empty on five man-advantage chances. "We created some opportunities and got some of the matchups that we wanted, but we couldn't finish.
"We certainly knew what we would be up against. The first part of the plan was to shut down Arman because he's a double-digit [goal scorer]. The second part was to try to shut down Martin, but our guys forgot about that."