Pasadena received three goals apiece from Meaghan Paschall and Tori Tripoli to earn a 10-8 home win against Glendale.
The Nitros (8-6, 1-3 in league) had their chances to win despite competing without senior utility player Anabel Beiki (illness) and losing junior driver Alique Berberian midway through the second quarter after she received her third ejection.
The Nitros were forced to scramble, but couldn’t solve Pasadena (13-2, 4-1).
“No doubt, our league is a powerhouse,” Glendale first-year Coach Forest Holbrook said. “The good news is that you get good competition and the bad news is that you have to go against those teams.
“Pasadena has got a real good team and some good club players. It was a tough game, but a good game for our players. Hopefully, we can build off this.”
The teams were tied at 5 at halftime, but the Bulldogs didn’t allow many quality scoring opportunities in the second half.
Glendale jumped out to a 2-1 lead on the second of two goals by Berberian with 3:59 left in the first quarter.
Berberian picked up her final ejection midway through the second quarter, prompting the Bulldogs to set the tone for the remainder of the match.
“It had been a back-and-forth game and then we lose her,” Holbrook said. “Then Pasadena got that three-goal lead in the fourth quarter.”
Pasadena got a man-advantage goal from Tripoli to take a 5-4 lead with 56 seconds left in the second quarter before Glendale responded with a goal from Desiree Solano-Garcia with 20 seconds left to knot the match at 5.
Paschall collected a pair of third-quarter goals, her second coming with 2:07 remaining to give Pasadena an 8-6 advantage.
The Nitros, who didn’t qualify for the playoffs last season, pulled to within one goal three times in the second half. Glendale also received two goals apiece from Katren Ter-Oganesyan and Solano-Garcia and one each from Kristina Terzyan and Arpineh Ohanian.