LA CAÑADA — Generating scoring opportunities wasn’t a problem for the members of the La Cañada High girls’ soccer team during their match against Glendale on Friday afternoon. Capitalizing on them proved to be a bit more difficult.
After enjoying a decided territorial edge throughout and often being foiled by Glendale goalkeeper Crystal Rivera, the Spartans’ resiliency eventually paid huge dividends.
La Cañada received one goal and two assists from forward Brianna Albarian to earn a 4-0 home victory against Glendale in a nonleague contest.
“It was getting very frustrating because we had so many good shots on goal,” said Albarian, who assisted on the opening goal by Megan Decker on a corner kick in the 32nd minute. “We had a lot of perfect scoring opportunities and we’d get the ball to the goal only to be stopped.
“Eventually, we had to get one and that would take the pressure off.”
While the Spartans (6-0) didn’t allow a shot on goal by Glendale (2-2) in the entire match, Rivera did her part by making six quality first-half saves to keep Glendale within reach of La Cañada.
Rivera stopped Decker and Albarian in the 13th and 31st minutes, respectively, before the Spartans solved her.
A corner kick by Albarian went to Decker, who headed the ball toward Rivera. Rivera got a piece of the ball, but couldn’t grab it completely before the ball trickled across the goal line.
“I was running back downfield after I took the corner kick and I thought we didn’t score,” Albarian said. “Then I heard the referee’s whistle blow to signal it was a goal.”
The Spartans scored three second-half goals to top the Nitros for the second straight season. La Cañada posted a 4-1 win last season at Glendale.
Albarian gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead in the 53rd minute off a centering pass from Katrina Davis. Katherine Sheehy increased the lead to 3-0 off a pass by Albarian in the 71st minute. Davis capped the scoring in the final minute with Sheehy picking up an assist.
“We played a lot better in the second half,” La Cañada Coach Louie Bilowitz said. “I thought the biggest difference in the second half was Katrina playing up high and being able to stretch the defense.”
Glendale Coach Victor Aquino said Rivera stood out for the Nitros.
“She was our backup goalie last year and she’s really improved,” Aquino said. “She made some great saves.
“Our legs got tired, especially after they got that second goal. These are the type of games where you see the mistakes you’ve made and work on things.”