SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Turning to their top player to score winning goals and their goalkeeper to punch aside penalty shots has become a theme of late for the members of the Glendale High boys' soccer team.
With the Nitros in the hunt for a league championship, why bother getting away from that formula of success?
Glendale received a season-best four goals from forward Levon Sargsyan and goalkeeper Aris Yeghiazaryan stopped a penalty shot en route to a 6-0 Pacific League home win against Pasadena on Wednesday afternoon at Moyse Field.
Sargsyan and Yeghiazaryan helped the Nitros improve to 6-0-7, 4-0-5 in league for 17 points. The Nitros leaped over Burroughs, which is 5-2-1 in league with 16 points, into third place in league. Pasadena fell to 5-9-1, 2-7.
Glendale held a 1-0 lead at halftime. Sargsyan, a senior and reigning All-Area honoree, scored in the 10th minute on a direct kick.
That goal would hold up, thanks in part to Yeghiazaryan. The Bulldogs were awarded a penalty shot with one minute left in the opening half.
Pasadena's Peter McCall launched a shot that Yeghiazaryan punched aside. It marked the second time this season that Yeghiazaryan, a sophomore, stopped a penalty shot. He turned back the first one Jan. 12 in Glendale's 1-0 league road win against Muir.
Yeghiazaryan finished with eight saves Wednesday.
"Aris keeps coming up big and that's a big help," Glendale Coach Tulio Marroquin said. "It boosted us and it helped us pick up the pace.
"We keep talking about them having not played a complete game. We had some lapses late in the first half, but they played better in the second half. They've been working hard on offense and defense."
The Nitros, who have qualified for the playoffs the last two seasons, scored five second-half goals. Sargsyan made it 2-0 in the 43rd minute before completing the hat trick in the 59th minute to extend the Nitros' lead to 3-0. Sargsyan added his final goal in the 66th minute to make it 4-0.
Glendale got goals from senior midfielder David Martirosyan and junior forward Michael Kopooshian in the 76th and 78th minutes, respectively.
"I got to break in easily because the defense gave me room," said Sargsyan, who scored the winning goal against Muir. "This was an important win, and, if we win every game, we have a chance to win league.
"Aris came up big for us once again. His save kept the momentum going for us and we were able to score a lot in the second half."