BURBANK — As the division's top seed, the CIF Southern Section Division V girls' water polo title will quite likely have to go through Redlands East Valley High.
In a showdown Glendale High would rather have put off until a later round, the host Nitros were forced to do just that in order to keep their title hopes alive and fell, 13-5, in the quarterfinals at Burbank High on Wednesday.
"It's tough when we're one of the top teams in our division and in our second [playoff] game, we have to play the No. 1 seed," said Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook, whose team won its opener against La Sierra, 10-6, on the road Wednesday. "It's a tough draw, but I thought our girls were able to rise up and play at that level, though."
It wasn't until the third quarter that the Wildcats (25-3) began to pull away, as the Nitros (17-10) trailed by two goals after one quarter and still by just three at halftime. But the team had scored just two goals to that point, frustrated by the Wildcats' defensive pressure, which would shut Glendale out for the first 9:21 of the second half while Redlands East Valley pushed the lead as high as 10-2.
Kristina Terzyan scored two goals for Glendale in the fourth quarter to halt the run and Desiree Garcia-Solano snuck one in with 15 seconds left in regulation.
"They were pretty successful on defense," Holbrook said of the Wildcats, who were led by four goals from Callie Lockwood. "Obviously, their game plan was to take away our hole/set and when they did that they were pretty successful."
Glendale appeared to have scored the first goal of the match at the 4:20 mark of the first quarter when Garcia-Solano launched a shot amid a man-advantage that hit the inner left side of the cage but was disallowed.
Redlands East Valley went on to score three goals in a row on a long-range shot by Mikayla Vessey, a lob dunked in by Lockwood and another perimeter bomb from Alexia Weisler at the 39-second mark of the opening period.
"They got some good centers and when you're trying to get position on that, it takes a drop," Holbrook said. "When we were doing that it opened up those outside shooters to get some shots."
Just before the end of the first quarter, Glendale's Arpineh Ohanian took a long pass from Milene Minassians and fumbled it, but gathered in time to stuff it into the cage.
In the second quarter, Glendale found itself on the wrong end of a man-advantage three times and twice paid for it with goals allowed. In all, the Wildcats scored five advantage goals, including three in a row to bridge the third and fourth quarters.
As the end of the first half neared, Glendale was very much in it after Alique Berberian cut the lead to 5-2 with a mid-range shot. But the Nitros came up empty on a man-advantage on the final possession of the half and opened the first half with a five-meter attempt that was blocked before Redlands East Valley made its decisive run.