BURBANK — With the Glendale High and Pasadena girls' water polo teams having already locked up playoff spots, each squad had a final opportunity to prepare for the postseason when they met Thursday afternoon in the third-place game of the Pacific League Tournament.
Glendale looked to build on establishing more of a defensive presence, while Pasadena sought to work on consistency in its overall game.
“The goal is to play real good defense and we are doing that while also peaking toward the end of the regular season,” said Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook, who got a team-high three goals from Maddie Corpuz. “I thought we played fantastic defensively these past couple of games.
“We are going to need more of that going into the playoffs.”
Glendale improved to 11-11, 5-3 in league. Pasadena, ranked No. 9 in the recent CIF Southern Section Division V poll, dropped to 9-21, 2-6. Glendale registered a 13-6 win against Pasadena on Jan. 8 at Glendale.
The Nitros, who started the tournament Tuesday with a 5-2 loss against Burroughs, got two goals from Biyouregh Boghozian and one each from Rima Gasparian and Naira Sarkian.
“I think we definitely have a lot of confidence now going into the playoffs,” Corpuz said. “Our goal coming into the playoffs was to come together and be clicking.
“We know that we still have to keep on improving.”
Glendale kept Pasadena at bay in the first half, racing to a 4-0 halftime advantage before the Bulldogs tried to mount a late comeback.
Boghozian scored the lone goal of the first quarter with 3:34 left. Corpuz made it 2-0 with 6:37 remaining in the second quarter before converting on a five-meter shot to extend the lead to 3-0 with 3:54 to go. Boghozian made it 4-0 with three seconds left in the first half.
Corpuz and Gasparian scored 34 seconds apart midway through the third quarter to extend the lead to 6-0. Pasadena’s Aria Hueso and Daniela Garcia each scored less than a minute apart to trim the deficit to 6-2 late in the third quarter.
Claire Taylor scored with 5:30 to play in the fourth quarter to bring the Bulldogs to within 6-3. Sarkian gave Glendale a 7-3 lead with 2:35 to play before Jade Christensen closed out the scoring 27 seconds later for Pasadena.
Pasadena Coach Jennie Jacobsen-Huse, who got 14 saves from goalkeeper Savannah Woods, said the Bulldogs struggled on their man-advantage opportunities.
“We didn’t score on those chances,” said Jacobsen-Huse, whose team had three such chances. “ Right now, it’s about making the adjustments.
“We feel good and excited about going into the playoffs.”
The CIF office will release its playoff pairings Sunday.