SOUTHEAST GLENDALE â€” It's no secret that the Glendale and Hoover highs boys' soccer teams aren't particularly fond of each other.
Toss in the fact that a playoff berth was at stake for the Tornadoes when the two cross-town rivals met on Friday in their Pacific League finale and emotions were running high.
The Tornadoes turned out to be the team to handle the pressure best.
Sophomores Arman Ter Barseghyan and Jonathan Martinez each cashed in goals and Hoover edged host Glendale, 2-0, to wrap up the Pacific League's final playoff berth.
â€œIt feels really good,â€ said Martinez, whose second-half goal gave the Tornadoes needed insurance. â€œIt's my first year on this team. I expected more since the beginning, but we had a chance at the end, we took it and won. We deserve it.â€
Hoover (5-8-5 overall, 5-5-4 in league) finished in a three-way tie for fourth place with Muir and Arcadia at 14 points, but the Tornadoes won the tiebreaker via their 2-0-2 head-to-head record against the Mustangs and Apaches this season.
Glendale (8-13-2, 5-8-1) finished in seventh place in league with 11 points.
For Hoover, it knew it was win or bust on Friday.
â€œTo us, it was something simple,â€ said Hoover Coach Charles Martinez, who guided the Tornadoes to the Pacific League crown last season. â€œ[We had] to come up here and take the last place in the playoffs.â€
In the 12th minute, it appeared the Tornadoes' postseason aspirations had taken a serious hit.
Glendale's Vahan Khodanian took a free kick from deep in his own territory.
Khodanian, a senior defender, crushed a soaring ball right at the Hoover net.
Hoover goalie Willie Carballo charged, but the ball took a big hop and bounded into the net for an apparent Glendale lead.
But the referee quickly blew the goal off, citing the kick as an indirect kick, meaning another player needed to touch the ball before a goal could be scored.
â€œThe rule is that it's an indirect kick,â€ said Glendale Coach Carlos Santiesteban, whose team beat Hoover, 2-0, on Jan. 11. â€œThe rule also speculates that the referee has to guide the signals. ... He didn't have his hand up and my player kicked it in.â€
Hoover recovered thanks to some pretty passing in the 30th minute.
Daniel Aguirre corralled a ball just outside the Glendale box and tapped a perfect pass over to Ter Barseghyan.
Ter Barseghyan booted a laser past diving Glendale goalie Gevorg Barakyozyan for a 1-0 Hoover lead.
â€œHoover had something to play for and we had something to play for,â€ Santiesteban said. â€œThey had more pressure and they played like it. The first goal was good. The second goal was one of our typical mistakes. No communication and an unlucky bounce.â€
That unlucky bounce came in the 53rd minute after a high ball was sent toward the Glendale net and hit off a Nitros defender.
Jonathan Martinez found himself in the right place at the right time and quickly fired a shot into the net to seal the win.
The Nitros, who played Friday without two starters, and Tornadoes each were able to get off 13 shots. The Nitros' Haykas Sarkisyan and Ando Ghevandyan each had decent looks in the second half, but both shots sailed high.
â€œToday, everybody was listening,â€ Coach Martinez said. â€œThey were focused, they were really concentrating. Our midfielders were really strong in making those runs in front to the forwards.â€
Hoover will find out its playoff opponent after the CIF pairings are announced on Monday.
â€œTo me, the whole team is going to have to work,â€ Coach Martinez said. â€œWhen the playoffs come, everybody is going to have to make an extra effort. Simple as that.â€