Arman Momdzhyan rules Pacific League water polo

Throughout the season, Arman Momdzhyan saw plenty of double- and triple-team coverage. It led to the towering Momdzhyan being more creative.

The Glendale High boys’ water polo player adapted to the various defensive schemes and didn’t let it affect him from doing what he does best — score goals.

“That’s what it’s all about, being able to adjust and finding ways to make your team better,” said the 6-foot-3 Momdzhyan, a junior driver who scored 136 goals and was named the Pacific League’s Most Valuable Player. “You go out there and play and I learned from a lot of great players to help me get here.

“When it comes to next season and college, I will know what it’s like to play in big games and handle those different situations. I wasn’t intending on being named MVP, but it’s a great accomplishment.”

Momdzhyan added 22 assists and drew 25 ejections, while helping Glendale win its second consecutive league championship. The Nitros also advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division V championship, falling to Pasadena Poly.

Momdzhyan was one of six Glendale players to receive league recognition. In addition, Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook was named the league’s coach of the year.

Holbrook, whose team finished 22-6 and 8-0 in league, said Momdzhyan exceeded expectations.

“He’s the type of player that when double-teamed can score three or four goals per game,” Holbrook said. “Single coverage, he can score eight or nine goals per game.

“He’s got that perfect demeanor and he’s very mature because he stays in the moment of the game. He had a lot of responsibilities and he did it well.”

Those named to the first team were David Papazian, Artak Arzumanyan and Martin Chatalyan of Glendale and Crescenta Valley’s Robert Menke.

“David was a big-time goal scorer for us, but he was also a solid defender,” Holbrook said. “Artak did a tremendous job shutting down the other teams’ top scorers and he sacrificed his offense to be a smart defender.

“Martin was also a big goal scorer. He was capable of scoring five goals a game.”

Papazian, a senior driver, finished with 58 goals. Arzumanyan, a sophomore utility player, chipped in with 64 goals and 25 assists. Chatalyan, a senior driver, totaled 91 goals and 54 assists.

Menke finished with 296 saves and 22 steals for the Falcons, who placed third in league.

Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju said Menke held his own guarding the cage.

“He was our safety net,” Sakonju said. “He’s got that overall good work ethic and character and that translated a lot into him showing improvement.”

David Tiraturyan of Glendale, Brian Dertli of Crescenta Valley and Hoover’s Hakop Baghumian earned spots on the second team.

Tiraturyan, a sophomore goalkeeper, finished with 146 saves. Dertli, a senior driver, finished with a team-high 66 goals and 21 steals. Baghumian, a junior utility player, collected 88 goals, 115 steals and 46 assists.

Among those receiving honorable mention were Levon Gevorkyan of Glendale, Antonio Camarillo of Crescenta Valley and Hoover’s Ryan Moguel. Gevorkyan, a freshman utility player, finished with 43 goals. Camarillo, a senior hole/set, collected 34 goals and 19 steals. Moguel, a junior hole/set, notched 68 goals, 84 steals and 23 assists.

Holbrook said he was honored to be named the league’s top coach.

“It’s a tremendous honor to win this when you are coaching alongside people like Jan and [Hoover Coach] Kevin Witt,” Holbrook said. “I’m in great company.”

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