Nitros begin league on winning note

BURBANK — Those five one-goal losses are a thing of the past for the members of the Glendale High girls' water polo team.

The Nitros searched for a new pattern entering Wednesday afternoon's Pacific League opener against Burbank.

Alique Berberian finished with a team-high four goals, all in the second half, to spur Glendale to a 10-7 win at Burbank High.

The Nitros (7-6) jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the midway point of the first quarter, then held off a couple of rallies by Burbank (9-3) before pulling away late with Berberian leading the charge.

"We knew that we had to come out strong and be able to make a statement," said Berberian, a senior driver. "We had a lot of one-goal losses, some of them which shouldn't have happened.

"We really wanted this win and we did what we had to do to get it. It gives us momentum, but there are still some things that we need to fix."

Had in not been for Burbank senior goalkeeper Sarah Tubert, the outcome might have been wider. Tubert finished with 19 saves and gave the Bulldogs a chance to win.

Tubert made 11 saves in the first half. Glendale owned a 5-4 halftime lead before Berberian helped get things together for Glendale.

"[Tubert] played unbelievable," Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said. "For us, it's neat when we see production from five different scorers.

"We know that league is the show. If we can buy in to our system, then the wins will come."

Berberian scored a pair of goals 56 seconds apart to make it 7-4. She scored her first goal with 4:05 left in the third quarter before beating Tubert again at the 3:09 mark.

Holbrook said that stretch proved to be the difference for the Nitros, who suffered a 9-8 nonleague road loss against Los Altos on Monday, the fifth defeat of the season by one-goal, according to Holbrook.

"Alique came up real big for us," Holbrook said. "We have got people who can step up and make big plays.

"To be able to stop us, you'll have to play good defense."

The Bulldogs got one goal apiece from Janna Ayvazyan and Gabi Rodriguez to close to within 7-6 late in the third quarter. However, Milene Minassians scored with 44 seconds left in the quarter to make it 8-6.

Berberian scored two unanswered goals in the fourth quarter to extend Glendale's lead to 10-6.

Burbank Coach Carlos Pelayo, a former standout on the Crescenta Valley High boys' water polo team, said Glendale executed when it needed to early in the match.

"They are a quality team and they have some good players," said Pelayo, who got a match-best five goals from Jordan Card. "We funneled a lot of shots, but then we stalled at inopportune times, or we fell asleep on defense.

"The big thing I like was that we were able to come back and respond. That bodes well for us the rest of the way. I think that our league is balanced."

Glendale received two goals from Minassians and one each from Claudia Somma, Veronica Sovakian, Desiree Garcia Solano and Arpineh Ohanian.

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