Crescenta Valley High girls' water polo's Elissa Arnold named league player of the year

Dominance in the pool resulted in a large share of awards for the Crescenta Valley High girls’ water polo team when the Pacific League honors were recently released.

The five-time defending Pacific League champions tallied seven awards, including player of the year, while league runner-up Glendale also had its share of acclaim, as did Hoover.

Senior two-meter attacker Elissa Arnold led the way for the Falcons in scoring a team-best 92 goals and was named the league’s player of the year.

“It’s a big deal and it’s an honor to win the award,” said Arnold, who wins the title a year after Crescenta Valley’s Shannon Hovanesian did. “I’ve been trying to win this award for a while and it’s great to win.”

The University of Michigan-bound Arnold paced a squad that finished 24-7, was seeded third to begin the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs and advanced to the semifinals for a fourth straight year.

The reigning divisional champion Falcons were eventually knocked out of the postseason by Warren, 16-9, on Feb. 26.

“We definitely stepped up individually and as a team this year,” Arnold said. “It was difficult having lost some talented players, but we accomplished a lot.”

Arnold had three teammates selected to the league’s first team in senior defender Ashley Taylor (81 goals), sophomore driver Audrey Taylor (87 goals) and senior Lynley Fernandez (40).

“We lost some key players from the year before and I don’t think anyone outside of this team thought we do as well as we did,” Falcons Coach Brent Danna said. “We had a great group.”

Danna was selected the league’s co-coach of the year along with Glendale’s Forest Holbrook.

“Although it’s nice to share this award with Brent, a huge amount of credit for this season’s success goes to [Nitros co-Coach] Casey Sripramong,” Holbrook said. “This year, with the boys having a huge run in CIF, Casey coached the girls for the entire season, including when I couldn’t be there.

“She did a fantastic job with the girls. It’s an honor to have a fantastic coach by my side.”

The Nitros enjoyed a strong 2013-2014 season that produced a second-place finish in the Pacific League, a 15-8 overall record and advancement to the Division V postseason.

Glendale netted two league first-teamers in seniors Melani Aghzarian and Naira Sarkian.

Aghzarian paced her squad with 52 goals, while Sarkian added 44 goals.

“They played a huge role in our success and deserved being on the first team,” Holbrook said.

As for the league’s second team, Crescenta Valley junior Ani Aghakanian (46 goals) merited selection, as did the Nitros’ junior twosome of Rima Gasparyan (36 goals) and Vehik Golabi (31 goals) and Hoover’s Magden Amirian (23 goals).

Crescenta Valley’s Natalie Krebsbach, Glendale’s Nineli Zargarian and Hoover’s Palie Karamanougian were named honorable mentions.

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