SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — During a recent practice, the members of the Glendale High girls’ soccer team spent some time working on attacking the net for potential rebounds.
The idea behind the strategy was simple — crash the net and a rebound might lead to a goal. Little did Glendale know, the drill would come in handy during a match. The Nitros couldn’t have had better luck with their timing.
Sheila Araji tapped in a rebound for a goal late in the first half to help Glendale earn a 1-1 tie against visiting Pasadena in a Pacific League match at Moyse Field.
Glendale interim Coach Victor Aquino, whose team improved to 1-2-2 and 0-1-1 in league, said the Nitros practiced the drill throughout most of Thursday’s practice. With a light drizzle falling throughout most of the match, Araji, a senior midfielder, remembered what she learned from the practice session.
A 30-yard free kick by junior midfielder Ashley Aquino bounced flush off the inside of the right post and toward the goal line. Following a brief scrum, Araji tapped in a shot for a goal in the 38th minute.
“With the ball being wet, I had a feeling that anything could happen, so I went for the ball,” said Araji, who has three goals. “We’d been practicing it, and I thought maybe I would get one chance in the game and I decided to go for it then.
“I couldn’t just watch [the ball] and I had to be aggressive.”
Victor Aquino, who served as an assistant the past several seasons with the school’s boys’ team, said he had an inkling the Nitros would score a goal off a rebound.
“We have had missed opportunities in our past few games in which we didn’t crash the net,” said Victor Aquino, whose team began league action Wednesday with a 4-0 road loss against Arcadia. “We haven’t been able to score much.
“With it raining, we figured we might get a chance again.”
Pasadena (2-1-2, 0-1-1) opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Freshman midfielder Alyssa Troy scored on a point-blank shot that eluded freshman goalkeeper Ashley Hermosillo. Hermosillo finished with 10 saves, including seven in the second half.
Arcadia and Glendale each had a golden scoring chance in the second half. With 20 minutes remaining, Hermosillo stopped a point-blank shot. In the 66th minute, a free kick by Aquino struck the top of the crossbar.
The Nitros will next compete at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 4 in a league home match against Burbank.
“We can now practice the next couple of weeks,” Victor Aquino said. “We now have some time to work on different things to get us ready for Burbank.”