First published in the Sept. 18 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Volleyballs slamming into the slick, wooden floor could be heard from outside Glendale High School’s gymnasium as fans entered to watch the girls’ intracity rivalry matchup between the Nitros and visiting Hoover on Thursday afternoon.
Glendale’s players walked off the court happy as they defeated the Tornados in sweeping fashion by scores of 25-14, 25-10 and 25-14.
“The girls are really happy, and if they’re happy, I’m happy,” said Marji Keyfauver, Glendale’s head coach. “They worked hard, they didn’t let up at any point in the match, and for that, I was very, very impressed with their effort today.”
Hoover tied the first set, 4-4, but then Glendale went on a run to take control. Back-to-back aces by Glendale’s Aleina Manaois gave the Nitros an 8-4 lead. Glendale extended its advantage to 15-9 before Hoover called the first timeout of the match. However, the stoppage didn’t seem to benefit Hoover as Glendale scored six consecutive times, including three aces by Arianna Vargas, to pull ahead 21-10 en route to a 25-14 opening game win.
The Nitros took control of the second set in similar fashion to the first with an 8-4 lead, which they never relinquished. The Nitros built their cushion to 17-7 before a strange event occurred — “fan” interference. The ball in play hit the gym’s large ceiling fan, and because Hoover had possession when the ball landed, the point was awarded to Glendale. The Nitros scored three consecutive times to end the second set with a victory, 25-10.
Glendale wasted no time in the third set to complete the sweep, as the Nitros scored five consecutive times with Vargas serving.
Hoover kept the set competitive with Vanya Arakelian serving by scoring three successive times to cut the deficit 12-7. Hoover continued to try and gain some ground, but Glendale was well out of reach as the Nitros ended the third set victorious, 25-14.
“Arianna Vargas is just consistently giving our opponents a difficult time, and Aleina Manaois was also a very potent server,” Keyfauver said. “Samantha Songco did a fantastic job. Even hobbled a little bit by a twisted ankle, she still managed to give our hitters a good swing almost every time.”
Glendale played an impressive all-around match, from the serving to the attacking to its defense. Manaois registered a team-high 13 kills and seven aces, with Vargas adding eight kills. Gayane Amroyan, Sophia Tran and Mariam Brito-Salazar each added one kill.
Defensively, Amroyan had a team-high two blocks while Maya Aghakhani had a team-high five digs.
Despite the loss, Hoover had several standout performances. Vanya Arakelian, Canal and Aleh Tahmasyan did well serving in their attempts. Most impressively, Vanya Arakelian had several digs that may would have otherwise resulted in additional points for Glendale. Kathryn Marks and Riley Kidder guarded the net the best they could against a potent Nitros offense.
“I did see some pretty good hustling today, especially from [Vanya and Nanour Arakelian],” said Daniel Seranian, Hoover’s head coach. “Unfortunately, offense lacked today, but that’s something we definitely have to work toward. Most of the points we gathered today were pretty much from a lot of Glendale’s mistakes.”
Hoover (2-13 overall, 1-5 in league) will look to snap its three-game losing streak in the Tornados’ next scheduled Pacific League contest against visiting Burbank on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Nitros (6-6 overall, 2-4 in league) are scheduled to play at Pasadena in a league match on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 3:30 p.m. in their season’s finale.