Crescenta Valley's Hovanesian nets elite honor

It didn't matter which one of his players Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo Coach Brent Danna was talking about, he couldn't help but feel there was an echo.

“You can ask me about any one of the girls and I am going to have a bunch of things to say and a lot of it overlaps because they all just played so well and had such great tools,” said Danna, as he found himself repeating qualities about his six players that were voted onto the All-Pacific League girls' water polo team.

Junior Shannon Hovanesian took home the league's player of the year award, with all positions being voted on by the seven league coaches. The five-spot player posted team-highs in goals (81), steals (106) and assists (90) this season, despite never paying attention to her numbers.

“I know people were doing books, but I never looked at them — never really,” said Hovanesian, who was a pivotal player in the Falcons' ascent to winning the CIF Southern Section Division V championship. “I know goals are what people care about most, but I was getting steals and making passes. I really just wanted to do whatever the team needed from me during the game. I really just played for the game.”

Danna echoed Hovanesian, calling her an all-around player on a team filled with players boasting a wide range of talents.

“She can score, she can pass, she can play defense, she can shoot from the perimeter, she can post up at two meters; that's probably what the coaches saw,” Danna said of what he believed separated Hovanesian, who had a shooting percentage of 72 (81 of 112), from the rest of the league in the coaches' eyes.

Crescenta Valley's Elissa Arnold, Katie Benson and Ashley Taylor all took home first-team honors, along with Glendale High's Biyouregh Boghozian. The Falcons' first-team trio all posted at least 55 goals, 50 steals and 30 assists this season. Six other players for CV, which was a perfect 8-0 in league and 32-2 overall this year, had at least 20 goals, 31 steals and 19 assists this year.

“One of our strongest points was our team effort as the season went on. I think it was a great honor to be awarded this player of the year,” Hovanesian said. “That is the reason I feel we were so successful because were able to do anything. If one person was off in a game, another person picked up the slack.”

Arnold, a junior, was a goal shy of matching Hovanesian's team-high 81 goals this season. She added a healthy 72 steals and 38 assists.

“Elissa was our main two-meter threat,” Danna said of her offense. “Defensively, she can guard two-meters, too.”

Taylor, a junior utility, tallied 65 goals, 50 steals and 30 assists en route to a first-team selection and drew high praise from Hovanesian.

“Her defense is the best I have ever seen,” Hovanesian said. “Her legs are the most powerful you can go up against and her shot is the most powerful shot.”

Benson helped keep defenses honest with her outside shot that produced 55 goals. The driver also posted a second-best 93 steals and 42 assists for CV.

“I personally feel she was our best outside shooter this year,” Danna said of Benson. “I felt like when we needed a goal, a lot of the times it came from her on the perimeter.”

Boghozian earned first-team honors after posting a team-high 64 goals for the third-place Nitros (12-11, 5-3 in league).

“Biyouergh and Maddie [Corpuz] were two of our strongest players on the team this year,” Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook said of his one-two punch and first and second-team selections, respectively. “Every task I gave them, most of the time, they could handle it, whether it was on offense or defense.”

Also among the league's second-team awardees were the Falcons' Breana Lawton and Hoover High's Se Yeon Kim.

Lawton was another lethal outside shooter Crescenta Valley had at its disposal. The senior driver had 65 steals, 45 assists and 34 goals on the year.

Corpuz was not only Glendale's most reliable scorer behind Boghozian, with 35 goals on the year, but its best defender, too.

Hoover Coach Kevin Witt lauded Kim, the team's only senior and captain this season. 

“She's one of those girls you love to have on your team,” said Witt, whose team finished 0-7 in league, 0-12 overall. “She was a leader in and out of the pool.”

CV and Hoover goalies Gabriel Isacson (147 saves) and Jasmine Trinidad, respectively, and Glendale's Naira Sarkian (21 goals) made honorable mention.

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