Expectations set higher for Glendale High girls' lacrosse team

GLENDALE — In just its third season as a CIF sanctioned team, the Glendale High girls’ lacrosse team has big plans.

Among those is contending for the Prep League championship and at least equal last season’s playoff run, which saw the Nitros advance to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Northern Divisions playoffs.

The Nitros will have 18 players on board, more than any other season and something Glendale Coach Joe Campbell said might help the team achieve their goals.

“We are seeing more interest in the sport and we are starting to bring in more players,” Campbell said after Glendale recorded a 9-7 nonleague home victory against Beverly Hills on Wednesday at Moyse Field. “We’ve seen the skill level rise noticeably and we are spicing things up in terms of playing a much more demanding schedule.

“These are things that will help the process move along. We are young, but you learn more playing tough teams.”

Glendale (1-1) received a team-best three goals from attacker Lymayre Aguilar and two apiece from midfielders Ahuixchel Engleman-Lopez and Elibeth Torres to turn back Beverly Hills (0-1). The Nitros opened their season Saturday with a 9-7 nonleague home loss against Peninsula.

Aguilar, who missed the first match while recovering from a concussion she sustained Jan. 27, sprung into action to spice up the Nitros’ offensive attack. She scored a pair of first-half goals to give Glendale a 4-2 lead before providing some insurance with a goal with 6:09 left in the second half to complete the scoring.

After losing standouts Jenna Nance and Elena Pierce to graduation, Campbell said the Nitros will look for Aguilar to shoulder some of the offensive responsibilities.

Aguilar showed no ill-effects from her injury Wednesday after being cleared to play by her doctor Monday.

“It was good to get back out there and help my team,” Aguilar said. “I wanted to get some goals, and we beat a good team.

“It was a typical back-and-forth game, but our defense stood out in the second half.”

After Beverly Hills received two goals less than a minute apart from Fasi Agaba and one from Rachel Benezra to build a 5-4 halftime advantage, Glendale tightened up defensively to limit Beverly Hills’ quality scoring chances in the second half.

“We were able to make some defensive adjustments, like pressuring the ball behind the goal,” Glendale senior defender Denise Guerrero said. “We doubled up on some of their top players and we had to do that by pushing ourselves that much more.”

Torres tied it at 5 with 23:09 left in the second half. Claire Bernardo gave the Nitros the lead for good at 6-5 with 18:01 remaining before Engleman-Lopez extended the lead to 7-5 with 16:21 to go.

Beverly Hills closed to within 7-6 on a goal by Natasha Kashani just six seconds later, but Engelman-Lopez restored Glendale’s two-goal lead at 8-6 with 11:33 left.

Savannah Slotkin of Beverly Hills and Aguilar swapped goals less than two minutes apart to complete the scoring.

“We didn’t play good defense early and we threw the ball away in the first half,” Campbell said. “We hung in there in the second half and we were ready to score.”

Glendale goalkeeper Amy Orellana finished with five saves, including four in the first half. Beverly Hills goalkeeper Inbar Avrahami registered five saves.

Joining Aguilar as attackers will be Bernardo, Sandy Sanchez, Ariella Ruiz and Ellin Deogracias. Glendale’s midfielders are Engleman-Lopez, Bernardo, Roselynn Pedroza, Torres, Marina Carpio and Marina Percastegui. The defenders are Guerrerro, Roxie Rodriguez, Odalis Luna, Jamey Snider, Andrea Milan and Jasmine Mejia.

“We want to get back to the playoffs,” Aguilar said. “We think this can be the beginning of something good for the program.”

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