NORTHWEST GLENDALE — Ahead by two games and with the backing of its home crowd, the Hoover High girls' volleyball team had virtually every opportunity Thursday afternoon to close out its archrival, Glendale, in a Pacific League match.
Instead, the Tornadoes gave way to a determined Nitros team, which claimed a 15-25, 24-26, 25-17, 29-27, 17-15 victory.
"We have a tendency to start off slow," Glendale Coach Jennifer Vo said. "But once we get going, we're able to pull through."
The Nitros improved to 6-6 overall and 2-5 in league, while the Tornadoes dropped to 1-8 and 1-7.
After surrendering a two-game lead, Hoover raced out to a 4-1 advantage in the fifth and deciding game. Glendale came to within a point of a tie twice before catching the Tornadoes at 11 and 13 and the Nitros never looked back.
"This game is so much about momentum," Hoover Coach Charles Min said.
After falling behind two games, Vo went from a 6-2 set to a 5-1. She attributed that as a key reason why Glendale found more success after the second game.
The Nitros immediately raced out to a 7-3 lead and then 18-11 in the third. They finally closed it out on a kill by middle blocker Alyssa Ridad.
Then in the fourth game, Glendale had a 22-18 advantage before committing a pair of errors. Hoover coupled that with a kill by Shaina Barrett (17 kills) and an ace by Elizabeth Dardov (18 kills) to tie it at 22.
But the Nitros pulled ahead on a kill and tip-in by middle blocker Kirsten Cabarong to force a fifth game.
That's when both teams found themselves knotted at 13. The Nitros got two kills from Kimberly Coffman (12 kills) to tie it at 15.
And with a kill by Cabarong off a Gabrielle Magpantay assist, Glendale went ahead, 16-15. But the final Glendale point came courtesy of a call by the officials.
"I don't know what the call was, to be honest," Min said. "One ref said it was a net, another said it was a double. I don't know. You usually want to let the kids play, but we had our chances. We just have to work harder next time."
Setter Arpineh Oganesyan led Hoover with 33 assists.