GLENDALE — Behind a fast start and versus a short-handed opponent, the Glendale High girls’ lacrosse team made quick work of visiting La Cañada High in an early Pacific League matchup.
The Nitros scored the game’s first 10 goals and didn’t allow the Spartans an actual shot on goal until 8 minutes and 20 seconds into their match, which ended as a 16-1 victory for Glendale on Tuesday afternoon at Moyse Field.
“We’ve come a long way,” Glendale Coach Joe Campbell said. “Our skills are better than they’ve been in the past and we’re able to play a better brand on the field.
“In the past, we would have one or two kids who could score. We played Huntington Park and we had 12 girls who scored. Today, I think we had seven or eight girls who scored. We’ve got a bunch of kids who can play now.”
Tuesday’s contest was the league opener for the Nitros (2-1), while the Spartans (1-2, 1-1) had already dispatched of Westridge on Friday.
Glendale’s offensive depth was on display Tuesday as eight Nitros scored at least one goal and the quartet of Odalis Luna, Marina Percastequi, Ariella Ruiz and Elibeth Torres all tied for the team lead of three goals.
The Nitros seemed unstoppable early, as Percastequi scored on the team’s first possession and Glendale notched goals on four of its first eight offensive series.
By the time La Cañada’s Christine Noh attempted her team’s first shot at 16:40, the Nitros had already taken a 4-0 lead.
Perhaps the two reasons why the Nitros didn’t have a bigger lead at that point was due to a hustling Spartans defense and some questionable Glendale ball-handling.
“Like any other team, we need to improve on our catching and throwing,” Campbell said. “We have to catch and throw better.
“We got beat on Friday night by maybe the best team in L.A. (a 14-3 loss to Oak Park) and they gave us a lesson in catching and throwing.”
Glendale eventually netted the game’s next six goals capped on a score from Luna with 3:04 left in the first half as the Nitros led, 10-0.
La Cañada’s lone goal followed right before the half when Noh tucked a shot just outside the reach of Nitros goalie Jenina Villabroza (three saves) with 30 seconds remaining to send the game into the half with the Spartans down, 10-1.
“The lesson today was that you have to work extra hard,” Spartans Coach Kyle Smith said. “Having no subs, you have to play this game with heart.
“I figured this wasn’t going to go super well without any subs as this was an endurance-heavy game. I wanted my girls to push through and finish and support each other.”
The Spartans were missing four players on Tuesday due to girls participating on the La Cañada soccer and basketball teams along with one illness. La Cañada was able to play with the minimum number and had no bench, while the junior varsity squad played with one less starter on offense.
Even so, a fatigued Spartans squad held the Nitros to seven goals in the second half and is hoping for a better result when the teams play at La Cañada on April 18.
“We should have our missing girls back by then and we’ll have this under our belt to use as fire,” Smith said. “I expect it will be different next time.”