BOYS WATER POLO: Spartans swim into championship round

La Canada cruises past Ayala to advance to title match

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La Canada’s Spencer Borisoff (2) scores past Ayalas goalie Troy Kurz during the second half of the Spartans’ 18-7 win over Ayala in the CIF-SS Division III semifinals. The Spartans advanced to the finals where they will take on Montebello. (Pasadena Star-News Staff Photo Keith Birmingham)

By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer

PASADENA – La Canada High School’s boys water polo team has had one collective goal in mind this season – to reach the CIF-Southern Section championship match.
The top-seeded Spartans needed to leap over one last hurdle to stay on course as they faced off against Ayala in the Division III semifinals Wednesday at Pasadena City College.
La Canada’s game plan was to press the Bulldogs into handling the ball and making mistakes.
Behind a solid team defensive effort, the Spartans pressed their way into the finals with a 17-8 victory over the Bulldogs.
The win sends the Spartans (22-8) into Saturday’s DivisionIII finals against defending champion Montebello in a rematch of last year’s title match, won by the Oilers 12-10.
“Montebello’s a tough team and and that’s who we want to play in the finals,” Borisoff said.
It’s the third straight year the Spartans have reached the finals, all against Montebello.
La Canada won the title in 2005 with a 14-11 win over the Oilers.
Spartans coach Larry Naeve is impressed with his team’s ability to make it back to the finals.
“It tells me the strength of these guys to get back to the finals for a third straight year,” Naeve said. The kids work awfully hard and they deserve this.”
Senior Max Scott scored seven goals and Spencer Borisoff added five as the Spartans controlled the match from the national anthem.
La Canada’s defense collected steal after steal in the first quarter, resulting in numerous breaks.
The Spartans outshot Ayala (18-9) 43-20 with many of the Bulldogs’ chances coming in the second half with the game already decided.
Scott put La Canada on the board early as he deflected a shot off Ayala goaltender Troy Kurz into the net less than two minutes into the game.
The Spartans continued to use tenacious defense to gain point-blank opportunities.
After La Ca ada came up empty on three straight close-range opportunities, the floodgates eventually opened to allow the Spartans to put the game out of reach early.
Borisoff scored on a break with three minutes to play in the quarter.
After a steal by Nathaniel Vail, Borisoff lobbed a shot over the head of Kurz with 33.6 seconds left.
Tim Perry then got into the act by stealing a errant pass and firing a shot into the net to give the Spartans a 4-0 lead after one quarter.
La Canada increased that cushion to 11-3 at the break, outshooting the shellshocked Bulldogs 22-6 in the opening 16 minutes..
Cameron James scored three goals to lead Ayala, which won the Division V title in 2003.
Ayala was playing without one of its top players, Tyler Sissoyev, who was ejected near the end of Saturday’s 10-4 win in the quarterfinals win over Bonita.
“The original disappointment was losing Tyler,” Ayala coach Paul Marceau said. “I knew our backs were against the wall even with him.
“La Canada is the No. 1 seed for a reason. I’m proud that my boys made the semifinals.”

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