Tornado Coach Gene Kranz after the match. "Some of the girls are upset
about [losing] right now, but they played hard and they competed. I'm
really proud of them."
It's with good reason that he was so pleased. Hoover was only one key
plays away from beating the Nitros for the first time in history. It was
And it sure did seem like big deal for the enthusiastic shivering
crowd gathered around the pool, enduring the rain to cheer their
Tornadoes (2-8, 0-1 in league) as they rallied from a third-quarter
deficit of 7-4 to tie the game at seven on a Kristine Khodjasaryan shot
with 42 seconds left in regulation.
It was one of Khodjasaryan's three goals Wednesday. Her second was
equally significant, as the senior started the Tornadoes' key stretch-run
with a perfectly placed lob over Glendale goalkeeper Cassie Bassanetti,
who had just entered the cage after playing the first three quarters in
See, when teams face Hoover, they're expecting to get a chance to work
on some things, such as their depth, for example.
What the Nitros ended up working on instead was refocusing, changing
defenses and, finally, handling overtime.
"That's when [Glendale players] realized they couldn't take Hoover for
granted," first-year Nitro Coach Shawna Metcalf said. "That's when they
were like, 'Oh my gosh, we're going to overtime, we shouldn't be going to
overtime, we don't want to be Hoover's first victim."'
They sure didn't, as the Nitros, who are now 1-0 in Pacific League,
did what they had been expecting to go from the get-go. They scored
easily and quickly, putting up four points in the two three-minute
"We knew they were going to be better than they have been," said
Glendale's relieved hole/set Anna Markaryan, "but we didn't think it
would be this close."
Markaryan led Glendale with three goals, all coming in the first
quarter before the Tornadoes were able to tie her up.
Arpine Megrabyan also scored three goals for the Nitros, all of which
came in the third quarter, before Hoover found its motivation -- the fact
that they could actually win -- and made things close.
"I'd love to see Hoover win a couple of league games this season,"
said Metcalf, who knows a thing or two about the Tornadoes, having played
her high school water polo on the Glendale boys' team. "CV matches were
always fun, because they're so good, but the ones against Hoover were
always my favorite. So I'd love to see [the Tornadoes] get a couple.
"Just not against me."
It seems, at least for this season, that Metcalf's Nitros are safe.