Nitros close out strong

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — Though the Glendale High and Hoover girls' volleyball teams will miss the playoffs, Tuesday afternoon's regular-season finale featured the kind of intensity that would normally be found in a playoff match.

For the Nitros and Tornadoes, it was one last opportunity to spike the ball, while trying to close out the campaign on a winning note and put the building blocks in place for next season.

For the second time this season, Glendale topped cross-town rival Hoover in five games.

Kimberly Coffman contributed seven kills and four blocks and Kirsten Cabarong added six kills to help host Glendale recorded a 18-25, 25-22, 25-20, 12-25, 15-10 Pacific League victory.

"We have a talented team and the players work well together," said Coffman, whose team completed its season with consecutive victories against Crescenta Valley and Hoover. "We had some good games, but our problem has been finishing off.

"We fixed that because we were able to work to each other's strengths."

Glendale (9-9, 5-9) struggled in the fourth game before bouncing back to dispatch Hoover (2-13, 2-12) in the deciding game.

After Hoover tied the fifth game at 10, Glendale scored the final five points to turn back the Tornadoes. Andrea Popeescu had an ace to make it 13-10 and Coffman's final block made it 14-10.

"We were able to get our serves in and play smart in the fifth game," said Glendale Coach Jennifer Vo, whose team posted a 15-25, 24-26, 25-17, 29-27, 17-15 victory against Hoover on Oct. 6 at Hoover. "In the fourth game, we couldn't pass well, and we treated the fifth game like it was a new game.

"It was the last game for our seniors and they wanted it. We just had to play smarter."

Hoover led throughout the fourth game and appeared to have the upper hand going into the fifth game. Things didn't turn out as planned for the Tornadoes.

"In the fourth game, we won by a pretty good margin," said Hoover Coach Charles Min, who received a match-high 15 kills from Elizabeth Dardov and 10 from Shaina Barrett. "We thought it would carry over.

"When you play your rival, there's just so much involved. We wanted to play tough [in the fifth game], but it didn't work out."

In the third game, Glendale used a late 8-2 run to take a 2-1 lead. Hoover held an 18-17 advantage before Glendale went on a 7-0 run.

Hoover held a late 21-19 lead in the second game. However, the Nitros used a 6-1 run to knot the match at 1.

An ace by Glendale's Sevana Stepanian gave the Nitros a 17-14 lead in the first game, but Hoover used an 11-1 run — which included three kills from Nicole Mirzakhanian — to spur the Tornadoes.

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