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Glendale polo uses defense to turn back rival Hoover

Water polo: Nitros have quick start, but their defense is the difference in 15-4 league victory against Tornadoes.

January 16, 2014|By Nathan Cambridge
(Tim Berger Staff…)

GLENDALE — The Glendale High girls' water polo squad welcomed rival Hoover into its pool for the Nitros' Pacific League home opener, and both sides were eager for the matchup Thursday.

"The Glendale-Hoover game is just a really exciting game every year," Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said. "Both teams are always very pumped up for it. It's one they look forward to."

PHOTOS: Glendale vs. Hoover league girls' water polo

Once the action got underway, the home team proved dominant, riding two five-goal scorers and a defense that smothered the Tornadoes on the press to win handily, 15-4, and remain perfect in early league play.

Glendale (9-2, 2-0 in league) was led on offense by a pair of juniors. Both members of the class of 2015, Vehik Golabi and Rima Gasparyan tallied five goals apiece to lead all players.

"It's exciting for us because they are both very talented junior players," Holbrook said. "It seems like a lot of times our seniors lead us, [so] it's nice to have that diversified scoring on the team."

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Gasparyan and Golabi combined to score all six of the Nitros' goals in the third period that saw Glendale outscore Hoover, 6-1, and carry a 14-3 advantage into the final quarter. Golabi had four in the third to add to the one she got to start the scoring in the second period.

Although Glendale enjoyed success on offense, the team's focus was more on the defensive end of the pool.

"Our coaches have been really pushing us to do strong defense and not really focused on offense," Golabi said, "because if the other team doesn't score as much we don't have to shoot as much either, so we try to do strong defense."

Gasparyan put in the other two goals in the third period. The junior was the only player to score in each quarter as she logged single scores in the first and second, as well as her team's lone goal in the fourth.

"We thought now is the time to step it up, since next year is going to be our senior year," Gasparyan said.

Hoover (2-7, 0-3) struggled throughout the contest against the pressing defense of the Nitros. The only real threat on offense was Maggie Amirian, who led her team with three goals.

"I think the best teams have a really good press," Holbrook said. "With very good set defensive players like Naira Sarkian and Melanie [Aghazarian], it allows us to press very hard and know that we can make it really make it difficult for the other team."

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