When the Glendale High girls’ soccer team needs a scoring boost, all eyes turn to Ashley Aquino.
It was her goal in the 31st minute of the first half that provided the initial score and impetus for a 2-0 victory over crosstown rival Hoover last Friday afternoon in a Pacific League contest.
Up until Aquino’s goal it was a see-saw affair, with neither team getting any serious scoring tries. Most of the match was played in visiting Hoover’s defensive end.
Aquino’s left-footed shot from 25 yards away was struck hard and firm and it sailed past Yvonne Cruz, the Hoover goaltender.
“I’ve taken that shot before and made it,’’ said Aquino, a senior midfielder, who had a similar goal against the Tornadoes a season ago. “If they‘re moving shots, I always feel I have a better chance to score. I took a good shot.”
It became 2-0 when midfielder Arianna Nunez scored from 20 yards out with 10 minutes left in the second half.
The second goal was icing on the cake for the Nitros (3-8-2 and 2-5 in league) because it didn’t appear as though Hoover (3-7 and 1-6 in league) was capable of getting on the board.
“Both sides were struggling to score,’’ said Glendale Head Coach Victor Aquino, Ashley’s older brother. “Usually I go with Ashley to be the stopper. We wanted to attack. Our defense has been getting better.”
Hoover Head Coach Donal Kennedy echoed Aquino’s sentiments. “That goal was a game-changer,’’ he said. “The first half was really ugly. There were few scoring opportunities.”
Aquino’s long-range blast from 45 yards and seven minutes into the opening half was weak, and it wasn’t until Audria Paris’ corner kick with 13 minutes left before halftime that Hoover had its first scoring chance.
Nunez’s shot from the left flank and 10 minutes left in the opening stanza was half-hearted, and Paris’ corner kick with three minutes showing in the same half gave Hoover its second scoring try.
Hoover’s Isabelle Torres sent off a 15-yard shot that didn’t find the net five minutes into the second half, and teammate Lori Berberian’s 35-yard attempt eight minutes later also missed. Nunez found herself with a 15-yard kick at the 20-minute mark of the second half, before Hoover’s Jordan Miller launched a 25-yard rocket with 18 minutes left.
The Nitros’ Jasmine Hermosillo had a 15-yard boot and 13 minutes showing before Hoover’s Tyra Williams was able to get off a 25-yard penalty kick a minute later.