NORTHWEST GLENDALE — While the colors on the caps will always make it a big deal, the annual clash between the girls' water polo teams from Glendale High and Hoover lost a bit of its luster this season, competitively speaking, at least.
On the line for the visiting Nitros was the chance to clinch the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Pacific League championship tournament. For the winless Tornadoes, Wednesday's match was merely an opportunity to salvage a trying season with a big upset of their archrival.
By halftime, it was clear the former was merely academic and any thought of an upset had disappeared behind a nine-goal Glendale lead that eventually widened into a 13-0 victory.
"They're a good team, we treat every game just like it's our last game," said Glendale's Kristina Terzyan, who scored a game-high five goals. "We just wanted to go all out. We don't want to just think we're going to win, even if we're up. We definitely want to work hard."
The Nitros got right to work with three goals in the first quarter, two from Terzyan and one from Milene Minassians.
In the second quarter, however, Glendale really began to run away with it, scoring four more goals in the first 2:46. Terzyan scored the first two on a turnaround shot and a no-look backhand into the goal. After Alique Berberian made it 6-0 with a shot from the left side that deflected off Hoover goalkeeper Se Yeon Kim's fingertips, Terzyan connected on her final goal of the day at the 4:14 mark, prompting Glendale to pull its starting field players from the match.
"Hoover's got a young team and it's an opportunity for us to get some of our players who usually don't get the most minutes into the game," said Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook, whose team improved to 15-8 and 5-1 in league. "It's very important for every one of our girls to be able to play whenever they're called for and it's nice to see all the girls stepping up."
Hoover (0-9, 0-6 in league) held Glendale to just one goal in the third quarter and put four shots on goal, but all were turned back by Glendale goalkeeper Mariquita Lopez, who finished with 10 saves in three quarters of work.
The Nitros went into the fourth quarter up, 10-0, off a 6-5 advantage goal by Sarah Kamiya at the 3:01 mark of the third and added two goals by Jaqueline Jones and another by Veronica Sovakian in the fourth.
"My end of it is just not quitting, not giving up and just fighting," Hoover Coach Ara Oganesyan said. "We finally have just an all-around amazing group of girls and, even though they're young, I pray that they really see this whole thing through the rest of their career and finish up as seniors with a body of work they can be proud of.
"But as long as we bleed upperclassmen every year, it's going to be difficult."