SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — For a season opener, the members of the Glendale High girls' soccer team showed some progress.
With interim Coach Victor Aquino on board, the first part of the season will focus squarely on Aquino getting to know the strengths and weaknesses of his squad.
Aquino got a better idea on Tuesday after Glendale battled visiting Alverno to a 2-2 home tie at Moyse Field.
"It wasn't a bad effort, but we had opportunities that we should have put away," Aquino said. "We started off slow and then we picked up the pace and I still think we can do better."
Glendale, which didn't qualify for the playoffs last season after taking sixth place in the Pacific League, held a 2-1 lead until Alverno (0-0-1) was awarded a penalty kick after a Glendale defender tripped up an Alverno forward inside the goal box. Alverno's Karineh Minissian converted on the penalty kick with 13 minutes remaining in the contest.
The Nitros might have found their goalkeeper of the future in freshman Ashley Hermosillo, who finished with nine saves and got a piece of Minissian's penalty shot.
Hermosillo made several quality saves to give the Nitros an opportunity to topple the Jaguars, who won the Horizon League championship last season.
"I was nervous at first, but then I got used to it," Hermosillo said. "It was a little scary playing against the big players and then I got the hang of it.
"On the penalty shot, I was confident that I could stop it. I got a piece of it. We did good and we know what we need to work on."
Aquino, who served as an assistant for the school's boys' team the past two seasons, said Hermosillo fared well in her varsity opener.
"She's not scared to get hit and goalie is the craziest position to play," Aquino said.
Alverno opened the scoring when Cassie Saavedra got behind a pair of Glendale defenders and beat Hermosillo on a low shot in the 22nd minute. Glendale knotted the game at 1 in the 37th minute on a 15-yard shot by Isabella Montano that beat Alverno goalkeeper Sammi Lorey.
The Nitros then took a 2-1 lead in the 46th minute. Debbie Rodriguez battled an Alverno defender for a loose ball and slid a 20-yard shot past Lorey.
Glendale finished with five shots on goal, while Alverno collected 11.
"We know there's going to be room for improvement," Aquino said.