Neubauer, Dogs turn back Nitros

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — With 6-foot-4 Bayley Neubauer providing a towering presence at the net, it’s easy to see why the members of the Pasadena High girls’ volleyball team like their chances that she can be a difference maker.

Neubauer proved it in a big way while playing middle blocker for Pasadena on Thursday afternoon during a Pacific League match at Glendale.

“As a middle blocker, I feel like it’s my job to go out there and set the tone,” said Neubauer, who finished with 15 kills to lead Pasadena to a 25-13, 25-17, 11-25, 25-20 victory. “We have the type of team that knows how to work well together and I feel like I have to go out there and finish with a good kill.”

Pasadena (7-4 overall, 2-3 in league) rebounded after losing a pair of league matches and its head coach, Raz Simonian, who resigned after the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win at Crescenta Valley on Sept. 18 for personal reasons.

“I’m not at liberty to say why I resigned, it was just personal reasons,” Simonian said on the phone Thursday evening.

Interim coach Amanda Gomez, who began the season as an assistant, was in charge Thursday and Pasadena hardly seemed flustered against Glendale (5-5, 2-3 in league). The Bulldogs used big stretches to turn back the Nitros in the first two games.

Pasadena took a 14-8 lead in the first game on a kill by Melissa Chow. It then used a 7-0 run to take a 21-10 lead before getting an ace from Alejandra Leon to close out the first game.

In the second game, Glendale held a 10-8 advantage. Pasadena then went on a 9-1 run to take a 17-11 lead. Glendale pulled to within 19-17 on an ace by Sevana Stepanian, but Pasadena quelled the rally by finishing on a 6-0 run, which included three kills in a row by Ciana Garner.

“We served them tough and we passed well off serve-receiving,” said Gomez, who got nine kills from Garner. “We try to run our offense through Bayley because that allows us to open things up on the court.”

Glendale showed improvement in the third game. An ace by Stepanian gave the Nitros a 12-4 lead. Kimberly Coffman recorded a kill to close out the third game and provide the Nitros with some hope.

The Bulldogs regrouped in the fourth game, leading throughout. An ace by Wynter Robinson gave Pasadena a 9-5 lead. The Nitros got no closer than 19-16 before the Bulldogs finished with a 6-4 run. Neubauer had five kills in the game.

Glendale Coach Jennifer Vo said the Nitros couldn’t solve Neubauer.

“She’s probably their best player,” said Vo, who got 14 assists and 12 digs from Gabrielle Magpantay and 12 digs from Stepanian. “It’s tough when you give up six inches to her at the net.

“I think we came out a little flustered. In the first game, we were slow, and we played better the next two games. In the fourth game, [Neubauer] was too much.”

The teams will meet again at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Pasadena.

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