CVHS Faces Uphill Battle in CIF After Dropping Pacific League Title Game


Falcon water polo players move in on the ball after goalie Eric Yoon’s (No. 1) impressive stop. Photos by Justin HAGER


By Justin HAGER

Last week the Falcon boys’ water polo team came up just short of the fairy tale ending to the Pacific League’s regular season. After a dominant win over regular season foe Glendale last Tuesday, the Falcons advanced to the Pacific League title game against undefeated Burbank. CV came out of the gate strong with junior Michael Peterson scoring the first goal of the game just 90 seconds into play. Unfortunately, that goal would be the Falcons’ only score of the first half.

The Falcons entered the second half trailing 8-1 but, after a couple of quick strikes from Burbank, the Bulldogs found themselves with a 10-2 lead. However, the Falcons refused to give up. As the game progressed, they tightened up their defense and held the Bulldogs scoreless for most of the third period. They even added a score of their own with Peterson putting the ball in the net with just six seconds remaining in the third period.

CVHS Goalie Eric Yoon (No. 1) tracks a shot-on-goal by Burbank during the Pacific League championship game.

Entering the final eight minutes of action CVHS made it known that they were not going down without a fight. Senior Arthur Movsesyan scored two goals midway through the period, but Burbank would answer each of them. As the final minutes ticked down, junior Jacob Choe added another goal for the Falcons – but it was not enough. The game closed with Burbank ahead 12-5.

After the match, coach Jan Sakonju was beaming with pride. He said that, despite a slow offensive start to the match and some frustration among players over the level of physicality, he “liked that the team kept playing hard for all four quarters.”

Arthur Mousesyan (No. 7) gets a pass around a Burbank defender during the Pacific League championship game.

“We haven’t been in a championship match for many years,” he continued. “To see the progress … I’m so satisfied it makes this season worth everything.”

Despite the loss, the Falcons’ 2021 run is not yet complete. As the second place team in the Pacific League they earned a berth in the CIF tournament. The first round of the tournament kicked off on Tuesday but CVHS’ impressive play earned them a first-round bye. As a result, they’ll kick off their CIF play in the second round, tonight (Thursday, Nov. 4) against Estancia High School in Costa Mesa. Estancia finished their season 20-7 overall, in second place in the Orange Coast League, and ranked 152 in the United States, almost 100 spots ahead of CVHS (249) according to MaxPreps.

When asked about the team’s future and what he would want to tell members of the CV community about the boys, Coach Sakonju offered an optimistic outlook.

“We’ve got a group of enthusiastic, fun and skilled players who have been working for many years to return the water polo program to its historic levels,” he said. “With four of the seven starters returning next year, we will build on this experience.”

Sebastian Rivera (No. 20) makes a long pass for a scoring opportunity during the Pacific League championship match.