LA CAÑADA — After recording a lopsided win in the first meeting earlier in the season, the Glendale High girls’ lacrosse team expected a much stiffer challenge from La Cañada in a rematch Friday.
Glendale anticipated La Cañada to be more aggressive with the Spartans having several key players back in the lineup who missed the first contest for various reasons.
Glendale overcame a better effort from La Cañada and received a match-best four goals from Ariella Ruiz to register a 9-4 Pacific League road victory.
PHOTOS: Glendale vs. La Cañada girls' lacrosse
The Nitros, who improved to 10-5, 6-1 in league, posted a 16-1 home win against the Spartans on March 11 at Moyse Field. The Spartans dipped to 3-3 in league.
“I thought the effort from La Cañada was much better from the first time,” Glendale Coach Joe Campbell said. “La Cañada played more aggressive and gave us a battle.
“We got another great effort from Ariella. She knows what to do out there. She’s got a lot of athletic ability and will continue to get better.”
Ruiz, a junior midfielder recently selected to play for the Los Angeles/Santa Barbara team in the United States Lacrosse Women's Division National Tournament in May in Bel Air, Md., finished with two second-half goals to turn back the Spartans.
La Cañada knotted the match at 4 on a goal by Christine Noh with 19:10 remaining in the second half. Glendale then scored five goals in the final 16 minutes to complete the two-match series sweep against La Cañada.
Elibeth Torres gave Glendale a 5-4 lead with 15:18 to play. Glendale’s Briana Johnson then corralled a ground ball and made a perfect pass to Ruiz, who scored on a partial breakaway to make it 6-4 with 10:30 left.
“We knew we couldn’t underestimate La Cañada,” said Ruiz, one of 22 players selected from the region to compete in the national event. “We’ve been working on being a lot quicker and we needed to get back on track after they tied it up.
“We were able to get back to playing good defense and we had a lot of different people contribute.”
The Nitros got one goal each from Torres, Ruiz and Claire Bernardo in a seven-minute span late in the second half to complete the scoring.
Ruiz gave Glendale a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the match. Torres and Ruiz then scored to pad the Nitros’ advantage to 3-0.
The Spartans got goals from Paige Mysliviec and Sophia Lamb to trim the deficit to 3-2. Odalis Luna made it 4-2 with 2:23 left in the first half before Lamb closed out the first-half scoring with 54 seconds left to make it 4-3.
La Cañada Coach Kyle Smith said the Spartans have shown signs of progress since the first contest against Glendale.
“We’ve started to get more confidence with our ability,” Smith said. “We definitely played one of our better matches of the season.
“When we got it to 4-4, we could taste it and we had the momentum. We had to keep pushing.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .