BURBANK — It didn’t matter to Derek Baer what lineup he faced.
The senior goalkeeper for the Burbank High boys’ water polo team knew it would be a challenge facing Flintridge Prep, ranked No. 4 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll, on Tuesday in a nonleague home match.
Baer stepped up and answered the call, as he made 12 saves to spark Burbank to a convincing 14-7 victory.
“We knew coming in that it would be a tough matchup and we had to go out there and play our absolute best,” said Baer, who made seven second-half saves. “I needed to focus as much as I could and not think about anything else.
“Our defense did a great job stopping then. This can only be a confidence boost for us going into our league.”
Burbank improved to 3-4. Flintridge Prep dropped to 2-5.
The Rebels competed without four starters Tuesday, including Ethan Vandeventer, Diego Delgado, Jamie Walker and Carlo Sivilotti. Vandeventer, a reigning All-Area pick, and Delgado served one-match suspensions Tuesday for violating a team rule that Flintridge Prep Coach Dan Hare declined to specify. Walker and Sivilotti are recovering from injuries.
The Bulldogs took charge immediately, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. Andres Pulgarin, Karo Salatyan and Arman Torosian each tallied a first-quarter goal.
Baer made sure the lead wouldn’t dissolve.
“He just stepped up for us,” Burbank fist-year Coach Zeb Jenkins said. “I was impressed with Derek because I knew he had a great year last year.
“This was just a very big win for us.”
Will Newman of Flintridge Prep cut the deficit to 3-1 a minute into the second quarter. However, Burbank got one goal each from Salatyan, Artur Mheryan (team-high four goals) and Dante Nazarian (three goals) to build a 6-1 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs scored five third-quarter goals to take an 11-1 lead.
Flintridge Prep played better in the fourth quarter. The Rebels scored six fourth-quarter goals, including a pair from Sean King.
“From a personnel standpoint, we were dealing with some different circumstances,” Hare said. “Maybe we can learn from it.
“Who do we have when our top guys aren’t in there? Offensively, we just didn’t have any kind of a rhythm, though we played much better in the fourth quarter. We will have to reestablish our roles.”