Tornadoes outlast host Nitros in finale

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — They had the talent, but could never put it together for long stretches.

After the visiting Hoover High boys’ volleyball team closed out its season Thursday with a 26-24, 25-15, 24-26, 25-23 Pacific League victory against cross-town rival Glendale in a Pacific League match, Hoover Coach Deb Cohen touched on that point.

“We have the talent,” Cohen said. “I think we could have had a few more wins in league.

“I hope that they will look back. It’s disappointing that they didn’t reach their potential as far as their record is concerned. We never put it together.”

With the victory, the Tornadoes (4-10, 3-9 in league) finished tied with Glendale (4-12, 3-9) for fifth place in league. The teams split the two-match season series with Glendale winning the first time in four games April 4 at Hoover.

On Thursday, the Tornadoes, whose two other league victories came against last-place Burbank, turned to senior outside hitter/middle blocker Jon Zakhary for relief. Zakhary finished with a team-high 10 kills, with the final one ending the 80-minute match.

Arua Abnousian chipped in with seven kills for the Tornadoes, who finished 3-9 in league for the second consecutive season.

After the Nitros rallied to capture the third game, the Tornadoes did a good job of zapping their momentum. Hoover scored the first four points en route to building a 14-6 lead.

However, Glendale closed to within 24-23 before Zakhary sealed the victory.

Glendale started off slow in just about every game, something that proved to be a problem throughout the season.

“We always do that because we constantly warm up slow,” Glendale Coach Mark Bauman said. “Hoover played well because they dug the ball and hit it well.

“We didn’t stand up to the challenge. We started to play [well] in the third game, but then we couldn’t take advantage of it later. Hoover kept playing harder and it showed.”

The Nitros received eight kills from senior opposite hitter Kris Santiago. The Nitros also got 14 assists from senior setter Aryan Madadian.

“The last time we played Glendale, it was a joke,” Cohen said. “The first game [Thursday] was close and then we played the way we should be in the second game.

“Maybe they decided it’s the last [match of the season] and they should start playing.”

Bauman said the Nitros will get to work soon with trying to reshape the program.

“It’s going to be a two- or three-year process to turn it around,” he said. “There’ll be lots of changes from how I coach the players to us needing to continue working on hitting and sticking with playing defense.”


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