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Abundant awards for LCHS team

Boys' soccer: After strong showing, five La Cañada players named to All-CIF teams.

April 13, 2011|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
(File photo )

There was no question the La Cañada High boys' soccer team had plenty of talent coming into the 2011 season, as several seniors returned to lead the Spartans to a deep CIF Southern Section Division V playoff.

Those who rose above the rest were singled out when the All-CIF Southern Section Division V team was released on March 22. Senior forwards Cameron Meeker and Matt Canatta were first-team selections, Spartans midfielder Arash Mahboubi and goalkeeper Jack Hale were named to the second team and sophomore forward Armand Bagramyan was chosen on the third team.

Meeker and Canatta had incredible seasons, La Cañada Coach Barry Ritson said, after the pair carried the Spartans offensively last season as well.

"If you take the black and white view and look at their stats, I think that tells you the overall story of their season. They always stepped up to the plate and carried the team at times," Ritson said.

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Both players' stat lines are nearly identical — Meeker with 24 goals and 19 assists and Canatta with 21 goals and 20 assists. Their individual styles of play couldn't be more different, though. Meeker is a strong, overpowering player down low and Canatta is an elusive, creative player with the ball at his feet.

"[Cameron's] a big, strong boy who understands the game and can bring the other kids into the play. He was kind of the leader in the final third. He was very encouraging, like a captain. He has outstanding goal-scoring ability and was really crucial to the way we played this year," Ritson said.

"Mattie was that guy we looked to when things weren't really going our way," he added. "All of the sudden, he can create something out of nothing. He has a very clear vision of what he wants to do when he gets the ball."

Bagramyan was the final piece of a trio of Spartans forwards that proved too much for many opposing defenses to handle. Both finished the season with more than 20 goals each. Defenses had to pick their poison against La Cañada, Ritson said.

"You couldn't double anyone because Armand can score," said Ritson, as Bagramyan finished the season with 21 goals and eight assists and made Rio Hondo's second team. "He's a mix of Meeker and Canatta. Armand is a powerful runner who can finish, and that brought balance to the team."

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