SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Having come back from a five-goal deficit in the second quarter to make a close game of the second Pacific Lacrosse League All-Star Game at Moyse Field on Saturday, the North All-Stars, which featured five senior players from Glendale High, weren't about to give up when they faced a similar challenge going into the fourth quarter.
"The game's never really over until it's over, there's always a chance to come back and at least get the game close," said Glendale's Matt Bogatz, whose North squad included players from Simi Valley, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Valencia, Saugus and Granada Hills high schools. "When we were losing, we just played a little harder and kept working on it and got a chance to catch up."
While it was a hard-fought match until the end, the South All-Stars, which included players from El Segundo, Edison, Torrance, El Camino Real and La Quinta high schools, were just too much for the North, winning, 16-10, after outscoring the North, 9-4, in the second half.
But the success of the game itself was another victory for the rapidly growing league in which the Nitros boys' team competed this season.
"When we first started the league about five or six years ago, we only had four teams, so an all-star game seemed kind of redundant," said league commissioner Steve Tyson, who now counts 13 team among the league's membership. "I'm proud of the guys because the L.A. area is kind of the last to develop [lacrosse programs] out of Ventura County, out of Orange County, Northern California and Southern California. We're starting to hold our own, so it's a really good thing."
Along with Bogatz, who scored one goal, the North squad featured Nitros Moises Chavez, Chan Kim, Alex Aleksanyan and Yourik Kazarian.
"I had a lot of fun," said Kim, who also scored one goal. "With all the different players from different schools it was more fun."
Due to the absence of the North's alternate goalie, Kazanian was the only keeper on the North roster and played the entire game in goal. The South's swift attacking offense gave him all he could handle, but he welcomed the challenge and finished with six saves.
"It was very fun, unfortunate that we lost, but just a fun game," Kazanian said. "I was actually kind of glad [about having to play the whole game]. I like playing as much as I can and I don't like sharing."
The South led, 6-1, with 2:00 to play in the first quarter, but the North closed the gap to 7-6 by halftime on a run that included Bogatz' goal.
Bogatz nearly had another goal in the third quarter, which saw the North cut the lead to 13-8 on Kim's goal with 2:13 remaining after the South had gone on another spurt.
"I've been working on lacrosse for three years now, it's a lot of fun," Bogatz said. "I'm glad I got an opportunity to do it. It was really worth it."