Spartans notch first win against Nitros

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — It seemed the La Cañada High girls' lacrosse team was destined to win its first game of the season Tuesday.

That was bad news for a short-handed Glendale squad, which played host to the Spartans in a Prep League game that eventually saw an early four-goal lead evaporate, as La Cañada pulled out an 11-10 overtime victory.

"It feels so good [to get the win], now we know we can do it," said first-year La Cañada Coach Kyle Smith, whose team improved to 1-6, 1-2 in league. "We have played teams that aren't as strong as Glendale, so we know if we can hang with them then we can hang with the other teams."

Glendale Coach Joe Campbell was down four starters Tuesday, but gave credit to an improved La Cañada team.

"[The Spartans] are completely improved over where they were and that was a big thing [in the game]," said Campbell, whose team defeated La Cañada, 6-4, on Feb. 29. "They have gotten so much better."

The Spartans rallied for the win after being down by as many as three goals, 9-6, with 10 minutes left in regulation.

Paige Milne and Tiffany Chen tied the game at 9 for La Cañada. Milne scored with 9:16 to go and Chen recorded consecutive goals with 7:52 and 4:30 left.

Jenna Nance put Glendale (6-5, 1-2) back out in front, 10-9, when she scored on a penalty shot with two minutes remaining.

Nance and Elena Pierce led the Nitros offense all game as the pair combined for all but one goal with Nance scoring four times and Pierce finishing tied for a game-high five goals with La Cañada's Christine Noh.

Noh sent the game into overtime tied when she scored with 25 seconds left in regulation.

Noh notched the game winner 12 seconds into the first of two three-minute overtime halves when she buried a penalty shot.

"It feels great, I feel like crying," Noh said. "We really wanted to win, it's midseason and we hadn't won yet so we just wanted to feel happy about winning as a team."

The Spartans defense locked down in overtime, giving up just one shot in the extra period that was saved by La Cañada goalie Caroline Gordon, who finished with five saves.

Glendale mounted a late attack with 34 seconds left, charging into La Cañada's zone but a turnover allowed the Spartans to chuck the ball down field with two seconds left and let time expire.

"[La Cañada] played a great game and we didn't play our best game that was for sure," Campbell said. "We're a smarter team than that. We were too impatient on offense and when you're down four starters you need to control the ball more."

It was an impressive comeback for La Cañada after it was down 5-1 with six minutes left in the first half as Pierce scored her third goal of the game before finishing with four in the opening half.

"We have gotten behind pretty much in every game so I don't think [big deficits] phase us anymore," Smith said. "It's not a good thing to say, but we're used to it."

Noh led La Cañada on a 4-2 run in the final five minutes of the first half by scoring three of those goals, including one with three seconds left in the half, to cut the deficit to two, 7-5.

The Spartans also got two goals each from Chen and Lauren Galantai.

The Nitros pushed their lead out to three, 9-6, on goals from Nance and Pierce with 14:46 and 12:20 to go in regulation, respectively.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World