In a first-round match of the USA Lacrosse Southern Section North Division playoffs characterized by tight scoring, physical play and myriad referee whistles, the Nitros lost a nailbiter to visiting Westlake, 6-5, at Moyse Field.
“It fell short,” said Nitros Coach Joe Campbell, whose squad defeated Westridge on Friday to earn a share of the Pacific League title with Chaminade, winning the four-year program’s first-ever title and the first league crown for a Glendale High girls’ team since 2003. “We battled.”
Westlake (9-2), which finished second in the Marmonte League, got a pair of scores from Arden Edgerton, who finished with a match-high three goals, in the first half to take a 2-0 lead. But with Edgerton on the bench for the remainder of the game due to her second misconduct, the match was tied at 5.
Still, it was Westlake that persevered, with Cayley Corridori scoring off a free position attempt with just 1:43 remaining.
The Warriors looked to run out the score, but Glendale got a late steal from Coco Cazares and a timeout — though it came long after Campbell had originally yelled for one. However, the Nitros’ ensuing pass was intercepted and Westlake ran off the last few seconds for the win.
Both sides seemed to take exception to the officiating, which saw an endless stream of calls, including two Glendale goals that were called off on delayed defensive calls against Westlake.
The Warriors provided the Nitros plenty of problems, too, particularly with their speed.
“Their team speed was tough for us to deal with,” Campbell said.
And, offensively, Glendale struggled shooting, while Westlake goalie Ayana Baker made eight saves.
“We didn’t shoot very well, you gotta make your shots,” Campbell said. “I gotta give [the goalie] props, she was in the right place.”
Driving in from the left across the goal, Elibeth Torres scored the Nitros’ first goal with 11:08 to go in the first half and scored her second of the match with 4:27 left in the half to put Glendale ahead, 3-2. The Torres scores were sandwiched around a Marina Percastegui tally with 7:21 to play in the first half.
But much of the momentum was derailed when Westlake’s Jordan Kuchta scored the first of her two goals with 2:18 to go in the first half to tie the match at 3.
Westlake built its lead to 5-3 before Glendale’s Ariella Ruiz put on a stupendous one-girl rally, scoring off a free-position opportunity with 9:19 to go in the game and then again 32 seconds later on a wrap-around to tie the match at 5.
Alas, it was Westlake that owned the final dramatics as Glendale’s historic season came to a close.
Said Campbell of the campaign: “I feel like the work we did paid off for us.”
Follow Grant Gordon on Twitter: @TCNGrantGordon.