Glendale High boys' soccer scoring surge versus Hoover leads it to playoffs
Soccer: Nitros upend rival Tornadoes, 3-0, to take fourth in league, qualify to postseason.
Glendale High's Avo Haroutunian celebrates a goal he just scored against Hoover in a Pacific League boys' soccer game at Glendale High on Thursday. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer) (February 13, 2014)
PHOTOS: Glendale vs. Hoover league boys' soccer
Squaring off against the rival Tornadoes (5-13-1, 2-10-1 in league) at Moyse Stadium in the teams’ regular season finale, the Nitros (9-9-3, 6-6-2) tallied all three goals over the course of a 13-minute span carrying over from late in the first half into the early moments of the second half.
The win, coupled with losses by Arcadia and Muir, propelled the Nitros into fourth place and the last automatic entry into the upcoming CIF playoffs, with pairings set to be released on Monday.
“We played really well,” Glendale Coach Arthur Aghasyan said. “We just did whatever we learned all this season. We kicked the ball. We had possession. We had options. We took some shots. And we scored nice goals.”
After a few missed opportunities early on, including a header off a corner kick that just sailed over the crossbar, the scoring push for Glendale started when junior midfielder Berj Ghazarian blasted a straightaway shot from at least 25 yards out to put the Nitros on the scoreboard in the 31st minute.
Only a few possessions later in the 35th minute, junior forward Avo Haroutunyan scored on a breakaway attempt. Drifting toward his left, he punched the ball just through to the right side with his right foot and just past the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper.
Two quick goals seemed to put the game out of reach. Hoover, which rarely had scoring chances save for a couple corner kicks later in the early portion of the second half, never could recover.
“It’s not by accident,” Aghasyan said. “With everything, there’s a purpose.”
Scoring in bunches, the third and final goal from Glendale came in the 44th minute when senior forward Menua Nazarian scored on a breakaway attempt, a shot assisted by sophomore midfielder Josh Arevalo, who put forth a nice through ball pass up the middle of the win.
The league win marked a high point for Glendale, which ended the regular season a modest two-game winning streak after racing past Burbank on Tuesday, 5-1, to snap a previous four-game winless streak.
“The players got better,” Aghasyan said. “I see the difference between the beginning [of the season] and now, so I’m really happy about that.”
Meanwhile, Hoover ended the year having had just one win since Jan. 15.
For the Nitros, they downplayed the win over their city rivals, instead staying optimistic about a playoff berth.
“All the teams are the same to us,” Aghasyan said. “Hoover is a close location, but Burbank or Hoover, it doesn’t matter to us. We have a team that respects all the team. There isn’t anything between Hoover. We have to take all the teams seriously.”