SOUTHEAST GLENDALE -- As losses go, this one stung a bit.
Or maybe more than a bit.
In a heartbreaker with dour implications, the always improving
Glendale High girls’ water polo team played even with -- or better than
-- Muir for most of its Pacific League match at Glendale High on
But that didn’t include overtime, which is why the Nitros suffered
what might be a pivotal league loss, 9-7.
“We really needed this win,” Glendale Coach Pat Lancaster said. “I
believe we’re a better team than [Muir], so hopefully it’ll work out that
we can see them again [in the league tournament.]”
For Glendale to qualify for the tournament, it must win two league
matches. For that to happen, the Nitros (5-5, 0-2 in league) must beat
two of the following: Hoover, Pasadena or Crescenta Valley.
For those reading between the lines, that means the Jan. 24 match at
Pasadena looms huge for Glendale.
Huge and doable for a Nitro group that was so pained by Wednesday’s
“It’s very disappointing,” said Elina Vartanyan, who wiped away tears
despite having scored three goals in an effort to avoid another close
loss to Muir like the one Glendale had a season ago, 8-7.
“History repeats itself. But I like to say, there’s always next year.
We’ll keep working on it.”
The match was close, much to the delight -- and, at times, frustration
-- of both teams’ family, friends and teachers in attendance.
Glendale fell behind early and rallied to take a 6-4 fourth-quarter
lead that lasted until Muir’s Rebecca Pratt and Metztli Montel snuck
shots by goalkeeper Sarineh Alexani.
And although the teams shared the advantage in regulation, the
Mustangs (7-7, 2-0) owned overtime.
They scored two quick goals in the first five-minute period and added
an insurance goal with 2:35 left in the second overtime.
"[Muir was] totally pumped up going into overtime,” Lancaster said.
“And we were flat.
“When we were up by two in the fourth quarter, I think we figured we
were going to win. So we were in shock that it even went to overtime.”
Offensively, there was improved shot clock utilization and constant
movement -- if not execution -- by the Nitros.
Glendale peppered Muir goalkeeper Lauren Donnelly-Crocker with shots,
forcing her to make 18 saves, including six on shots by senior Carla
Hale, who scored twice and had two assists.
Defensively, the Nitros produced their usual all-out effective effort.
Put together, the Nitros, realizing the importance of the match,
played as hard and smartly as they have this season.
Which is why the loss hurt so much.
“It was just -- I can’t believe it,” said sophomore driver Michelle
Garcia, her eyes also red. “I’m not sure what went wrong. We got up and I
didn’t think we could get back down.
“I’m just lost right now. Just really confused.”
MUIR -- Harrison 3 goals, 3 steals, Montel 2 and 3 assists, Pratt 2,
Bell 1, Donnelly-crocker 4 steals.
Saves: Donnelly-Crocker 18.
GLENDALE -- Vartanyan 3 goals, Hale 2, Kadymyan 1 and 4 steals,
Yousefian 1, Garcia 4 steals.
Saves: Jacobs 1, Alexani 8.