Falcons striker named MVP

Soccer: CV junior Pavle Atanackovic earns Pacific League's top individual honor.

March 20, 2011|By Charles Rich,

GLENDALE — Pavle Atanackovic was shocked when he earned All-Pacific League honors after serving as place kicker for the Crescenta Valley High football team.

As a member of the school's boys' soccer team, there weren't any similar surprises after he finished this season with a team-high 33 goals to help lead the Falcons to their second league championship in a row and a trip to the CIF Southern Section Division III quarterfinals for the first time in the program's history.

For his on-the-field contributions, Atanackovic was named the league's most valuable player, as voted on by the league's eight coaches.

"That was cool to get it in football, but I'm more proud of this," said Atanackovic, a junior forward. "I play football for fun, but soccer is my main sport.


"It took a lot of hard work and a lot of practicing. It feels great to be named MVP and I have another year left, and I'm going to try to win it again next year."

Atanackovic became the second Falcon in as many seasons to earn the accolade. Last season, Gor Grigoryan of Crescenta Valley shared the honor with Hoover's Arman Ter-Barseghyan.

Atanackovic said he looked up to Grigoryan for inspiration and tried to follow in his footsteps.

"That's why it's a big honor for me and it was one of the goals that I set out to get," said Atanackovic, who added four assists and finished with 70 points. "I kept that in mind and it motivated me this season.

"It took a lot of hard work by my teammates, who were there to get me the ball. We have a great chemistry and we were able to connect, especially on the field. They always seemed to know where I would be."

Crescenta Valley second-year Coach Kiel McClung said Atanackovic elevated his level of play when the Falcons needed him late in a match.

"He's a huge reason why we've won back-to-back league titles," said McClung, who was named the league's coach of the year after guiding the Falcons to a record of 15-3-5, 11-0-3 in league. "He was getting two or three goals a game for us in league.

"He was our point man and finisher. He got to play with a great supporting cast who gave him a lot of [scoring] opportunities."

Those receiving all-league first-team recognition for Crescenta Valley included Matt Schmutzer, Alex Berger, Chris Fierro and Salar Hajimirsadeghi.

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