BURBANK — The battle for third place in the Pacific League tightened up in the third quarter, when the Glendale High girls’ water polo team’s offense finally showed up.
The Nitros made a game of it with a second-half resurgence, but Pasadena made a fourth-quarter stand to claim a 6-5 win Thursday in the league championship tournament at Burbank High.
“We just really emphasized the defense that we still had to run and take our time and use the clock on offense,” said Pasadena Coach Jennie Jacobsen-Huse, whose defense held the Nitros without a goal and to just one shot over the final 2:16 of the game to preserve a one-goal lead. “We just talked about really making sure you did the job that you were asked to do, whether it was dropping back on defense or pressing hard.”
Glendale (10-10, 3-5 in league), which trailed, 3-0, at the half, closed to within 5-4 at the end of the third quarter, but it was the Bulldogs (17-11, 5-3) who came out firing in the final period after being held to just three shots on goal in the third.
Despite firing eight shots on frame, Pasadena scored just one goal in the fourth quarter, but it was an important one — Elma Memisevic’s goal from the right side with 2:41 left that gave the Bulldogs a 6-4 cushion.
Glendale goalkeeper Marquita Lopez-Engelman made sure the lead would grow no bigger, as she notched seven of her 11 saves over the final seven minutes. But the Nitros’ offense disappeared once again with just four total shots, although Jacqueline Jones did bring the Nitros to within 6-5 with 2:16 left off a pass from Veronica Sovakian.
With 1:27 left, Bulldogs goalkeeper Alegra Hueso made a leaping save of a high shot attempt by Sovakian and the Nitros’ next possession ended in a turnover, allowing Pasadena to burn another 30 seconds off the clock.
Glendale had a chance to win it with 22 seconds left, but couldn’t get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded.
“We got two really good looks on that last possession,” Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said. “The girls just didn’t pull the trigger, that’s all.”
Pasadena continued its recent trend of stingy defense against Glendale in the first half, holding the Nitros scoreless after allowing just one goal over the final two quarters of the last meeting between the two teams on Feb. 1.
Lydia Kerns and Memisevic gave Pasadena a 2-0 lead through the first quarter and the Bulldogs led, 3-0, at the half on Emma Dodd’s tally with 1:54 left in the second.
Biyouregh Boghozian broke the drought for Glendale on its first possession of the second half and, although Pasadena would stretch the lead to 5-1 on goals by Kerns and Dodd, Glendale was right back in the thick of it by the 1:54 mark of the third after a three-goal run fueled by scores from Jones, Boghozian and Venus Payandeh.