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New look for La Cañada city boys' soccer programs

Soccer: La Ca�±ada High, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep are taking on news identities in 2013-14.

November 26, 2013|By Andrew J. Campa, andrew.campa@latimes.com
  • La Caada High boys' soccer coach Alex Harrison address his team at practice on Tuesday. His Spartans will have a more defensive look and identity in 2013-14. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
La Caada High boys' soccer coach Alex Harrison address…

LA CAÑADA — If there was a commonality to the 2012-2013 boys’ soccer season for the La Cañada High, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep programs, it’s that each enjoyed varying levels of success.

Perhaps to no surprise then, all three teams have different outlooks and expectations heading into this upcoming season.

For the last few years, much of the area and beyond has had to find a solution to stopping La Cañada High striker Armand Bagramyan. The senior forward turned in a prolific scoring campaign last season, netting 43 goals, which was second-best in the state according to maxpreps.com, while adding 21 assists.

Bagramyan, however, has left the field as the All-Area Player of the Year graduated, which now creates a problem for the Spartans in dealing with his shadow.

“Armand just did so much for us last year offensively that we’re really going to be a different team this year. He did more than score, though, he gave us an identity and that’s also going to have to change,” Spartans Coach Alex Harrison said. “We’re probably not going to be able to be in those shootouts like last year.

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“This year’s team is going to have to grind it out more than ever. If there’s a positive for us, it’s that we’re not going to be so dependent on one guy. We’ll definitely need others to step up.”

For much of last season, the Spartans were ranked No. 1 in the division before struggling down the stretch and finishing second to South Pasadena in the Rio Hondo League race with an 8-1-1 league mark and an 18-4-2 final record. La Cañada was then eliminated in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division V playoffs by Marshall Fundamental.

The Spartans will likely rely on their defense more and, in particular, on senior goalie Graham Labran-Boyd (13 shutouts and 106 saves) and senior center defender Austin Gartside.

“I’m not about to say what type of formation we’re going to run, but we’re definitely going to look to stop teams,” Harrison said.

Harrison also has a stout defender in senior Joseph Kim, who can either play sweeper or stopper.

While Harrison waits for forward Filip Franke to return from a collarbone injury, he has some solid options in Armaan Zare (eight goals and six assists) at forward, Keivan Meshkat at attacking midfielder and Andrew Meeker (seven assists and four goals) at forward.

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