Nitros stocks up on experience

PASADENA — The Glendale High School girls' lacrosse team came into the 2011 Rose Bowl Jamboree, a girls' lacrosse tournament, looking to get their feet wet.

The newly-CIF sanctioned Nitros found themselves in their division's third-place game against Yorba Linda on Saturday.

Glendale finished fourth out of six teams in the tournament's blue division after the team's offense shut down against the Mustangs. Seven girls who'd never played lacrosse before Saturday were called to start against Yorba Linda after five Nitros starters were unable to play. Yorba Linda took advantage, winning the third-place game, 9-1.

Despite the loss, Joe Campbell, coach of the Nitros, was happy with the play of his first-timers.

"They played great. They learned and that's the whole thing," Campbell said. "I thought they played as well as they could with the challenges they had."

Linda Perez, Glendale's goalie, came up big against Yorba Linda (2-1), making five saves. Coming into Saturday, she had zero game experience.

"[Perez] did great and this is the third game she's ever played," Perez said.

Nicole Willis, a Mustang midfielder, finished the contest with a game-high three goals.

The Nitros' lone goal came on Glendale's first shot in the 13th minute. Jenna Nance took a pass at midfield, worked her way to the Mustangs' goal and fired a shot that bounced off the ground and into the back of the net, cutting the deficit to 3-1.

Nance and Magdalena Ramirez gave Glendale plenty to cheer about in the first two rounds of the tournament.

The Nitros fell to Temecula's Great Oak High School, 6-4, in the first round Saturday morning. It looked like Glendale was headed for another loss against Downey High in the second round. The Vikings jumped out to a 4-1 lead early, but the game ended in a 6-6 tie after Glendale went on a 5-2 run to end the contest.

Glendale (0-1-1) advanced to the division's consolation championship against Yorba Linda with the best goal differential. Nance and Ramirez finished the three-game tournament with eight and three goals, respectively.

"We are happy with the tie and we're happy with the way we played in the loss," Campbell said. "If we play well we are just going to get better and better."

Campbell founded the Rose Bowl Jamboree nine years ago to introduce girls to lacrosse. Nearly a decade later, not much has changed. Campbell is still spearheading the tournament, which now draws top-notch high schools from Southern California and other squads looking to learn the game.

"We have some teams here that can really compete with the best high schools in the country and others that are just learning how to play like us," Campbell said.

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