Area pair finish first

Hakop Kaplanyan and Arman Momdzhyan looked to live up to the billing of being the consummate goal scorers for the Hoover High and Glendale boys' water polo teams, respectively, this season.

The duo drew their share of attention in the pool from opponents and led their respective teams into the upper echelon of the Pacific League with their large presence on a match-by-match basis.

Their body of work was recognizable outside of league, as Kaplanyan and Momdzhyan received All-CIF Division V first-team accolades.

Other area players to receive All-CIF honors were Shant Tokatyan of Glendale, David Pogosian of Hoover and Crescenta Valley's Manny Martinez and Antonio Camarillo.

Kaplanyan, the two-time reigning All-Area Player of the Year, finished with 139 goals, 47 assists and 103 steals and helped Hoover advance to the semifinals for the first time in the program's history. The senior utility player often made opponents assemble their approach around defending against his multiple offensive skills.

"Obviously, it's a goal of mine to get All-CIF," said Kaplanyan, who was tabbed the league's most valuable player for the second season in a row. "I just went out there and played my game and tried to always help my team win.

"I'm proud to get All-CIF again. But I'm more proud that we are coming off the greatest season ever at Hoover. Just to get to the semifinals and be a part of that was great."

Hoover first-year Coach Kevin Witt, a former All-CIF pick at Glendale, said Kaplanyan's ability to dominate was a driving force in him securing the prestigious honor.

"He may be the top player in the division," said Witt, whose team placed second in league. "I saw him make lots of progress and I have a much deeper respect for his athletic ability.

"He's got that consistent ability to relentlessly attack and his defense speaks for itself. It was fun to see him play against top-level guys."

Momdzhyan, a sophomore driver, helped Glendale win its first league championship since 2002 and advance to the quarterfinals. He finished with 146 goals and drew 58 ejections, in addition to providing leadership.

Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said Momdzhyan, the lone sophomore to be named to the first team, often found himself pitted against top defenders.

"For him to get All-CIF as a sophomore says a lot," Holbrook said. "He's just a tremendous goal scorer and he found a way to get the big goals for us.

"He also proved to be a real team guy and we needed his natural leadership after Gor Asryan and Martin Narinyan [graduated]."

Momdzhyan said he was surprised that he earned the accolade.

"It's awesome and really amazing," Momdzhyan said. "It was a goal of mine.

"I've gotten a lot of club and high school experience and a lot of good coaching to help me get to where I am."

Tokatyan and Martinez earned spots on the second team.

Tokatyan, a senior hole/set, registered a team-best 154 steals and added 58 goals for Glendale.

"He was unbelievable and the root of our offense," Holbrook said.

Martinez, a senior goalkeeper, made 185 saves for Crescenta Valley.

Martinez helped the Falcons place third in league and qualify for the postseason.

"He was the foundation of our team," Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said.

Pogosian and Camarillo were selected to the third team.

Pogosian, a senior hole/guard, finished with 58 goals, 25 assists and 72 steals for Hoover. Camarillo, a junior hole/set collected 46 goals for Crescenta Valley.

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