La Canada girls' soccer starts strong to defeat Glendale
Megan Decker's three scores propel La Canada Spartans past Glendale Nitros on Monday.
La Canada sophomore forward Megan Decker recorded her second hat trick of the season for the Spartans. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer / December 18, 2012)
Bringing an abundance of energy and speed on offense for the La Cañada High girls' soccer team, the sophomore forward wanted to get to work right away Monday.
Decker enjoyed a huge first half, as she scored three goals to lead visiting La Cañada to a 4-1 nonleague win against Glendale at Moyse Field.
It was the second hat trick this season for Decker, who helped the Spartans improve to 5-1-1. The Spartans have won five matches in a row.
"The main thing for us is being able to get some goals early," said Decker, who tallied her three goals in a 23-minute span. "If we can do that, then we like our chances.
"One of the things I've been working on is my speed. You can get a lot of good [scoring] chances when you have that. It's just about how much you want it."
The Spartans dominated the majority of the match, limiting the Nitros (1-4) to two shots on goal.
La Cañada controlled the tempo from the outset.
Decker, who recorded another hat trick during a match against Alverno on Dec. 5 in the Duarte Tournament, gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead when she split a pair of Glendale defenders and rolled a shot past Glendale goalkeeper Crystal Rivera in the fifth minute.
Decker extended the Spartans' lead to 2-0 in the 15th minute. Rivera then made two point-blank saves on Decker in the 19th minute before Decker completed her hat trick in the 28th minute. Decker intercepted a clearing pass by a Glendale defender and beat Rivera with a shot inside the right post.
La Cañada Coach Louie Bilowitz said Decker, who has scored eight goals in three matches, provides the Spartans with an extra dimension on offense to go along with their stingy defense.
"She's got a great nose and touch for the ball, and the game is fun for her," said Bilowitz, whose team has allowed four goals this season. "I think she's going to be an unbelievable player by the time she's a senior."
Glendale trimmed the deficit to 3-1 on a goal by Meghan Spencer in the 34th minute to provide the Nitros some momentum. However, La Cañada's Francesca Mor closed out the scoring in the 39th minute to restore the Spartans' three-goal advantage.
Glendale Coach Victor Aquino said the Nitros suffered from a lack of communication.
"We just don't talk enough and that's been a problem throughout," Aquino said. "Our games have mostly been silent and I tell them that I can't hear them.
"We knew coming in that this would be a tough game. We weren't prepared mentally coming in. These are the kind of games in which you learn from them to get you ready [for the Pacific League]. We have to be better with our communication."
Rivera finished with four saves.
The Spartans will next participate in a nonleague home match at 3:30 p.m. Thursday against Marshall Fundamental. The Nitros will next take part in a nonleague home contest against Alverno at 3:30 p.m. Friday.