SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Ninette Mirzakhanian doesn't consider serving to be the strongest part of her game.
Yet, the Glendale High girls' volleyball player needed to be at her best in handling a tough situation for the Nitros on Monday afternoon in their nonleague home match against Alhambra.
Mirzakhanian made the most of her opportunity, as she recorded three key aces in the decisive fifth game to help Glendale register a 25-16, 24-26, 25-19, 16-25, 15-8 victory.
"It's not the best part of my game, but [Glendale Coach Jennifer Vo] says to mix it up when serving," said Mirzakhanian, who helped Glendale improve to 1-1 following a season-opening nonleague defeat against Rosemead on Friday. "You always have to serve hard if you are down.
"I went out there trying to pick out who to serve to."
Mirzakhanian, a junior setter, provided Glendale with a shot in the arm in the fifth game. Alhambra (0-2) took a 7-3 lead before the first ace by Mirzakhanian cut the deficit to 7-6. Her second ace gave the Nitros an 8-7 lead before her last one extended the lead to 10-7.
The Nitros, who didn't qualify for the playoffs last season, closed out the fifth game on a 12-1 run.
Vo said the Nitros needed Mirzakhanian to be at her best.
"I told her to go out there and serve tough," said Vo, who received nine kills from middle blocker/outside hitter April Reed and six each from middle blocker Satine Iskandaryan and outside hitter Trish Nubla. "She served real well in the last game.
"She has a great energy out there on the court. Our serving kept us in the match."
Glendale claimed a 12-5 lead in the first game on a kill by Iskandaryan. A kill by Reed made it 22-12.
The Moors broke a 16-16 deadlock in the second game and held a 24-22 advantage on a kill by Diana Le. The Nitros tied it at 24 before a hitting error by Glendale and a kill by Khanhlinh knotted the match.
Glendale used a 6-0 run midway through the third game to take a 16-10 lead. Libero Mary Tonikian had two aces in that stretch to spur the Nitros, who saw the Moors get no closer than 19-17.
Alhambra recorded seven aces in the fourth game to force the deciding game.
"We had to be able to finish this match," Vo said. "We need to keep working on finishing."