Spartans have it in Bagramyan

Soccer: La Cañada junior forward scored a team-high 23 goals with 15 assists to earn league MVP honors.

March 16, 2012|By Andrew Shortall,

There was never any secret about who the La Cañada High boys' soccer team wanted to get the ball to.

Armand Bagramyan, the Spartans' lethal forward, was usually the one La Cañada looked to for a goal and as a result he drew two and the occassional third defender.

No matter what the opposing defenses threw his way, Bagramyan was often able to find a way to score, as he tallied 23 of La Cañada's 52 goals and assisted on 15 more.


"We had a scorer we could go to at any moment," first-year La Cañada Coach Alex Harrison said of Bagramyan. "He is just really elusive and puts people on their heels. Once he gets past you and gets an open look, eight or nine times of 10 he is going to stick it in the net."

It was Bagramyan's play-making ability that helped him lead the Rio Hondo League in goals — with 11 in 10 league games – and propel the Spartans (14-6-5, 6-0-4 in league) to their third straight league crown and earned him the league's most valuable offensive player award.

"I was actually pretty nervous coming in because I didn't think I would do as well with all the guys who graduated last year," Bagramyan said. "I was expecting it to be a team game, but I had a lot to do. I had to be a leader and a captain, which I haven't been before. I didn't actually expect to score as much as I did."

The Spartans' next goal and assist leader was Jeff Becker, who finished with eight goals and 13 assists and picked up all-league first-team honors.

"[Becker] has great size, speed, technical ability and he can finish," Harrison said of the senior. "He has the skills you look for as a forward or midfielder."

Zaki Khan also got a first-team nod, more so for his defensive prowess and senior leadership in La Cañada's midfield while also posting three goals and two assists.

"[Khan] held the team together through the emmotional aspect, he was really our general on the field," Harrison said.

If an opposing player worked his way to the Spartans backline he was most likely going to run into their junior center back, Aidan Tourani, who was also selected to Rio Hondo's first team.

"He was the leader in the back," Harrison said of Tourani. "He is a hard tackler and that's important to have in the back."

South Pasadena (15-9-2, 6-2-2) finished third in league behind Monrovia and wound up with three first-teamers in seniors Steven Blackwell, Mathewos Ghebrekristos and Cody Dunn.

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