Nitros get late break, victory

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — It's probable that the Glendale High and Pasadena girls' water polo teams might face each other next month in the Pacific League Tournament.

If the Nitros and Bulldogs do meet, chances are they will reflect on the suspenseful match they competed in Thursday afternoon. It had a little bit of everything and left Glendale feeling revitalized knowing it can win a close match.

Milene Minassians scored the tying goal with one second left in regulation and Desiree Garcia-Solano added two key goals in overtime to spark host Glendale to a 13-10 victory against Pasadena.

Glendale improved to 14-8, 4-1 in league, while Pasadena dropped to 14-5, 4-2.

Things didn't appear favorable for Glendale, ranked No. 9 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll, with 12 seconds remaining in regulation. However, the Nitros forced a turnover and immediately called timeout. The Nitros were then awarded a man-advantage opportunity with eight seconds left and Minassians scored to knot the match at 9.

"We didn't have much time and the man-advantage situation helped us a lot," said Minassians, a senior utility player who finished with three goals. "I saw a lane where I thought I could shoot after Desiree gave me a perfect pass.

"We got that goal and I think we had the advantage [going into overtime]. We played with confidence at the end."

The Nitros controlled the pair of three-minute overtime sessions.

After the Bulldogs, ranked No. 8 in the division, got a goal from Amanda Pike to take a 10-9 lead with 1:31 left in the first overtime, the Nitros responded.

Veronica Sovakian tied it at 10 with a man-advantage goal with 1:16 left in the first overtime before Garcia-Solano gave the Nitros an 11-10 advantage with 40 seconds remaining. Kristina Terzyan and Garcia-Solano scored goals 30 seconds apart in the final overtime to complete the rally.

"We came into the game knowing we could win," said Garcia-Solano, a junior utility player who collected three goals. "I had some missed shots earlier in the game and I had to find a way to make up for those missed shots in the overtimes.

"We didn't give up. This will help us for what we need to do in our next game."

The Nitros received three goals from Terzyan.

Glendale second-year Coach Forest Holbrook said the Nitros began the season coming up short in close matches. That appears to be changing with two weeks left in the regular season and the playoffs around the corner.

"It was a very good game," said Holbrook, who received nine saves from goalkeeper Mariquita Lopez. "We had trouble in the beginning of the season and close games have seemed like a death sentence, but our goal is to be playing our best at the end of the season.

"Pasadena ran a perfect play and just made that one bad pass and we were able to take advantage of it. We had production from our six starters and our bench of Jacqueline Jones, Sarah Kamiya and Venus Payandeh gave our starters a break and that proved to be big going into overtime because the freshness paid off."

Pasadena received a match-high six goals from Tori Tripoli.

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