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La Cañada's Armand Bagramyan awarded for historic soccer run

La Cañada Spartans senior striker named Rio Hondo League¿s Offensive Player of Year after history-setting campaign.

March 20, 2013|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com | By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com
  • La Canada's Armand Bagramyan dribbles the ball during the first half of a CIF Southern Section Division V first-round boys' soccer playoff match against Marshall at La Canada High School on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 in La Canada, Calif. Marshall won 2-1..
La Canada's Armand Bagramyan dribbles the ball… (Libby Cline / Staff…)

While La Cañada High boys’ soccer Coach Alex Harrison thought Armand Bagramyan had a chance to break the program’s single-season scoring record last season, the Spartans forward hadn’t even given it a thought until about a dozen games into the 2013 season.

“I had about mid-20 goals and a couple people came up to me after a game and told me they thought I could break the record,” said Bagramyan of the first time he realized he had a shot at history.

Coming into the season, Josh Henderson was the top scorer in La Cañada’s history books with 41 in a single year.

“In the first few games, it just kind of materialized [for Bagramyan],” Harrison said. “He already had 30 goals in the first 13 games, I think. It just materialized, it started looking like [he was going to do it] and as it got closer it became a countdown.”

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Bagramyan did break the record on Feb. 5 in a Rio Hondo League game with San Marino when he scored twice to give him 42 goals on the year.

“It’s an honor, Josh Henderson has been a friend of mine and a coach,” said Bagramyan, who finished with 43 goals and 21 assists on the season with his final tally coming in a heartbreaking first-round CIF Southern Section Division V loss to Marshall Fundamental, 2-1. “The goals just came, I was just looking to help my team and it broke itself really.”

The historic run led to Bagramyan, who had 18 of his goals and eight assists in league, being named Rio Hondo’s Offensive Most Valuable Player award for the second year in a row.

“It feels good, I worked hard all season and I guess it paid off,” Bagramyan said. “The team helped me get MVP, it wasn’t just me.”

La Cañada’s other players also reaped all-league honors with Austin Gartside, Armaan Zare and Marc Kaesler all being named first-teamers after proving critical for the Spartans (18-4-2, 8-1-1 in league), who finished as co-league champs with South Pasadena.

“It was nice because I had Austin on the defensive line, Armaan in the midfield and the other Armand on the forward line — that was like the backbone of our team and with all the other components we were really solid,” Harrison said.

Gartside, a junior center defender, anchored what Harrison considered to be an underrated back line — with Bagramyan’s dynamic play casting a shadow.

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