“You get elbows and fists coming into you all the time, so that’s part of the game,” said Asryan, a junior hole/set who scored 126 goals last season for the Nitros. “I’ve played long enough to expect it and it’s nothing personal.
“It’s like the [Ultimate Fighting Championship], but you are in the water.”
Asryan has shrugged off most of the hits to keep him and the Nitros afloat in the Pacific League this season. This season, he’s recorded a team-high 56 goals, as the Nitros (9-2 and 3-1 in league) are closing in on a return trip to the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs in November.
In many aspects, as Asryan goes, so do the Nitros, under the direction of first-year Coach Forest Holbrook.
Holbrook arrived at Glendale last summer, knowing very little about Asryan or the Glendale program. After watching Asryan practice, Holbrook figured he had a go-to player who could get the Nitros through the intense moments of a contest.
“After I applied for the job and got it, I showed up the first day to practice and saw Gor,” said Holbrook, who served as an assistant at Pacifica High in Garden Grove last season and played at powerhouse El Toro during the beginning of the decade. “I could begin to see some of the things he’s done well and that he’s got a strong background and understanding of the game.
“With his shot, it’s strong and he’s got some finesse. He knows when not to shoot the ball, and he’s a force at any position.”
With Asryan being a force for the Nitros, they’ve garnered notice. They have stuck to Holbrook’s game plan of being patient and getting counter-attacks that lead to good scoring chances.
Asryan, who earned All-Area first-team honors last season, helped the Nitros get on the right track in league competition. He came through with a match-high seven goals to power host Glendale to a 17-3 victory against Arcadia on Oct. 6.