A first-ever CIF Southern Section championship was only one of the honors earned by the Glendale High boys’ water polo team over the last few weeks.
The recently released All-Pacific League list was highlighted by the Nitros, but also included players from Crescenta Valley and Hoover.
Glendale senior driver Arman Momdzhyan and coach Forest Holbrook took home the league’s top honors of player of the year and coach of the year, respectively, while three Nitros and two Falcons were named to the first-team list.
“I’m very excited to win the award and am very pleased with this year,” Momdzhyan said. “This year was probably the hardest I’ve ever had to work, but we had to win a championship this year, especially after losing last year.”
Momdzhyan led the area with 169 goals, as Glendale finished with a 22-6 mark, its third straight undefeated Pacific League title and its long-sought Division V championship, 13-11, over Los Altos on Nov. 23.
“Our goal had been to win a championship and the guys accomplished their mission,” Holbrook said. “This was a group that had been together for a while and that’s about all they hadn’t done.”
A big portion of Glendale’s success was due to the exploits of goalie Daniel Sarkissian, hole/guard Manuk Piloyan and driver Artak Arzumanyan, all of whom were selected to the league’s first team.
Sarkissian finished with 111 saves, while Piloyan totaled 117 goals for the season and Arzumanyan tallied 89 goals.
“These guys obviously played a big role in our success,” Holbrook said. “I just wish we could have put more players on the first team.”
Glendale goalie David Tiraturyan was named to the second team after finishing with 95 saves.
Glendale’s biggest threat during the regular season was none other than Crescenta Valley, which finished runner-up to the Nitros in the Pacific League.
The Falcons concluded their season with a 16-10 record and fell in the quarterfinals of the Division V playoffs.
“Starting the year, I think we had a tremendous amount of confidence that we’d be a top four team and I was really worried about our overconfidence,” Falcons Coach Jan Sakonju said. “But maybe it was a good thing that we lost two games and were thrashed early on because it humbled us. We played as a team after that.”
Falcons driver Ryan Moguel and goalie George Vine VI were both tabbed to the first team.
Moguel, a transfer from Hoover, scored 39 goals in only 13 games as he sat out until Oct. 7 because of the CIF’s transfer rule.
As for Vine IV, the senior was a defensive leader and finished with 263 saves while playing in all but one game this season.
“George was a steady foundation for this team all year and his played allowed us to grow and mature,” Sakonju said. “With Ryan, I don’t know of a game that he didn’t score some big goals for us.”
Nate Fernandez (66 goals, 32 assists) and Griffin Harding (45 goals, 23 steals) were named to the league’s second team for Crescenta Valley.
Hoover, which finished 9-15 this season and just missed the playoffs, had one second-team honoree in Hakop Baghumian.
Glendale’s Harut Bankikyan, Crescenta Valley’s Omar Trad and Hoover’s Avik Abedi were all named honorable mentions.