GLENDALE — Fresh off winning its second straight Pacific League championship, the Glendale High girls’ lacrosse team earned the fourth seed in the Los Angeles Lacrosse Foundation Division I playoffs.
With a nice blend of youth and experience, the Nitros plan to make a deep postseason run.
Glendale turned to one of its most experienced players in Rachel Fong, who contributed eight goals and two assists Tuesday to spur host Glendale to a 12-11 win against No. 13 Palisades in an opening-round match at Moyse Field.
Glendale (17-2) will meet No. 5 and league rival Crescenta Valley (14-3) in a second-round match at 4 p.m. Thursday at Glendale. Crescenta Valley, which took second in league, posted a 14-10 home win against No. 12 Oaks Christian on Tuesday.
Fong scored what proved to be the winning goal with 15:09 remaining in the second half. The goal gave the Nitros a 12-9 lead before the Dolphins (15-2-1) fought valiantly in their comeback bid before falling short.
“It wasn’t easy,” Fong said. “Palisades gave us a real good test and we know we are going to have to play a lot better the next time.
“We didn’t start off too well and then we started to slowly get our momentum going. It’s definitely big to get the win and we started to take better shots that helped us build the lead.”
After tallying five first-half goals, Fong, a senior, wasn’t about to slow down against the Dolphins with the teams deadlocked at 7 at halftime.
Palisades took an 8-7 lead on a goal by Isabel MacKinlay (four total goals) with 24:08 remaining in the second half. Fong knotted it at 8 with 20:24 left before teammate Xcaret Salvador gave the Nitros a 9-8 lead with 19:03 to go.
Fong scored two man-advantage goals less than a minute apart to extend Glendale’s lead to 11-8.
“We definitely have a much younger team, but we have some seniors who can provide experience,” said Glendale coach Joe Campbell, who has led the Nitros to three league titles in the past six seasons. “Rachel bailed us out today, along with Xcaret and Jasmin [Contreras].
“Rachel went out there and scored some big goals, just like we are used to seeing. We played a team in Palisades that’s used to winning and their goalkeeper made about three excellent saves on point-blank shots.”
The Dolphins closed to within 12-10 on a goal by Ally Stahl (seven goals) with 5:42 remaining. Stahl closed out the scoring with 1:46 left before Glendale held Palisades at bay by running out the clock.
Glendale erased four deficits in the first half. Glendale tied it at 5 on a goal by Fong with 7:44 left in the half.
Fong and Daymaris Arca scored one goal apiece less than a minute apart to give Glendale a 7-5 lead. Palisades, a member of the L.A. City Section, got last-minute goals in the half from McKinlay and Stahl to pull even at 7.
Glendale goalkeeper Lili Barker finished with eight saves and Palisades goalkeeper Jessie Taft had nine.
The semifinals will be held Saturday at Culver City High and the finals will take place May 8 at Westlake High.