LA CRESCENTA — It seemed as though Kirsten Cabarong had an answer near the end of each game for the Glendale High girls’ volleyball team during Tuesday’s Pacific League match against rival Crescenta Valley.
When the Nitros needed a key point or block, they turned to the senior middle blocker to deliver. Cabarong relished the role of being a force on the court.
Cabarong finished with 13 kills and nine blocks to spark visiting Glendale to a 25-19, 25-23, 25-19 win in the first of two head-to-head meetings against Crescenta Valley.
“I had to do what I had to do and that was be aggressive in different ways,” Cabarong said. “I felt like I was in a zone in that I could watch the ball and block it or get a kill.
“I did my best work in the end [of each game]. I just wanted to do it and we played great.”
Glendale improved to 7-4, 3-3 in league. Crescenta Valley dipped to 9-5, 4-2.
In all three games, Glendale held late leads before Crescenta Valley mounted comebacks bids. The Nitros turned to Cabarong to handle the closer’s role.
“It came down a lot to her blocking and serving,” Glendale co-Coach Ta'ase Mose said. “It was up to her and she did it all very well.
“We are improving as a team. We did a good job blocking and we didn’t panic. We just needed to stay patient and keep our poise, especially near the end.”
In the first game, the Nitros received a block from Cabarong to grab a 7-4 lead. The Falcons pulled to within 20-17 before Cabarong registered two kills in a row to make it 22-17. The Nitros closed out the opening game on a 5-2 run.
Glendale’s Serena Snaer recorded an ace to tie the pivotal second game at 19. Two straight kills by Crescenta Valley’s Katie Sandoval gave the Falcons a 21-19 advantage.
With Cabarong serving, the Nitros used a 4-0 run to take a 23-21 lead. In that stretch, Cabarong had one kill and one ace. The Falcons rallied to tie it at 23 before Ivanna Gamboa and Grace Tappin recorded back-to-back kills to give Glendale a commanding 2-0 lead.
The Nitros never trailed in the third game, though Crescenta Valley stayed close throughout. Cabarong had a kill to give the Nitros a 19-15 lead. Her last kill gave Glendale a 24-18 lead before Tappin sealed the victory with a kill.
Crescenta Valley Coach Jen Ku Lee said the Falcons couldn’t solve Cabarong.
“We had a game plan [for Cabarong], but we couldn’t execute it,” said Lee, who got 13 kills from Cassidy Iannello and three aces from Kwak. “We knew a lot about Glendale after playing them in the summer.
“It’s more mental with our team. We need to be able to come back and do better the next time.”
Glendale got eight kills from Tappin and seven from Snaer. The Nitros finished with eight kills, including three from Snaer.
Crescenta Valley will meet Glendale again at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at Glendale.