LA CRESCENTA — After losing a pair of Pacific League matches against the Burbank High boys' water polo team last season, Crescenta Valley looked to quickly turn the page.
A balanced scoring attack and some steady defense helped accomplish the feat.
Crescenta Valley received four goals apiece from Griffin Harting and Brandon Fernandez on Tuesday to register a 17-8 home win against Burbank in a league opener for both teams.
"We lost two one-goal games against Burbank last year and we didn't want that to happen again," Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said. "We did a good job [Tuesday] staying patient.
"It's a step to show we've rebuilt as a program. I'm happy with the way we were able to start league. It's going to be a hard league."
Crescenta Valley, ranked No. 5 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll, improved to 5-3. Burbank dipped to 5-6.
The Falcons never trailed against the Bulldogs and installed an aggressive defense, led by Trevor Goddard and Omar Trad, to frustrate Burbank and create several counter-attacks that led to goals.
"It started on defense with Trevor and Omar," Sakonju said. "They are both very smart defenders and they know how to force turnovers in key spots."
Burbank couldn't solve Crescenta Valley's offensive attack. The Falcons got two goals apiece from Nate Fernandez, Alexander Trimis and Goddard to dispatch the Bulldogs.
Harting had a pair of first-half goals to stake Crescenta Valley to an 8-3 halftime lead.
"I thought we were able to come out and play some good defense early on," Harting said. "We knew we had to come out and be the aggressive team.
"I just went out there and tried to take my shots at the appropriate times. Two of my goals came off counter-attacks. We had some pent-up aggression coming into this game after losing to them twice last year."
Burbank got two goals apiece from Dante Nazarian and Andres Pulgarin.
Burbank first-year Coach Zeb Jenkins said the Bulldogs couldn't solve Crescenta Valley's offense and defensive pressure.
"We just started out and I think we were nervous in the beginning," Jenkins said. "It was hard to get back into the game after we got behind.
"We learned that you have to win the battles. We just have to continue playing hard and they will get things figured out."