Stellar start for Spartans at tourney

Coming into the La Cañada Boys' Soccer Tournament, the La Cañada High boys' soccer team wanted to prove it was better than last year. Only two rounds of the tournament have passed, but La Cañada has already achieved that goal.

"This tournament is right before the [Rio Hondo League] season starts and we want to send out the message that this is our year and we're better than last year," said Spartan midfielder Arash Mahboubi.

La Cañada sent a message in the first round of the tournament Monday night, getting a 2-0 win against Canyon, one of the three teams it lost to last year. The Spartans kept the momentum Tuesday, rolling right through Maranatha, 11-0.

The Spartans (10-0-1) are determined to win their own tournament this year after seeing it slip away last season and they're on the right track, Coach Barry Ritson said.

"The speed of our attack is getting where it needs to be," Ritson said. "It took sometime to get the boys on the same page but they're flying right now."

Matthew Canatta and Armand Bagramyan scored La Cañada's goals against Canyon. Both forwards finished the game with a goal and an assist a piece.

"Canyon is the toughest team we've played this year and we finally all came together," Mahboubi said. "It was the first complete game we've had this entire season."

Scoring got started in dramatic fashion against Maranatha when Aram Bagramyan, a defender, knocked in a goal from about 35 yards out.

"That shot was either going to go in the back of the net or the restroom," Ritson said. "Most of the time it ends up in the restroom, but it was a great hit and a great goal."

There was no looking back from that point, as the Spartans scored five goals in the first half and six more in the second. Mahboubi finished the game with three assists and one goal. Canatta scored three more goals in the second round, but Cameron Meeker had a team-high four goals against Maranatha.

"We wanted to show we're better than last year," Meeker said. "We didn't win this tournament last season so it's important to win it this year."

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