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Nitro Arman Momdzhyan gives as good as he gets

Arman Momdzhyan has taken his share of abuse, but has scored timely goals for top-ranked Glendale High boys' water polo team

September 22, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • Arman Momdzhyan is a force to be reckoned with in the pool for the Glendale High boys' water polo team.
Arman Momdzhyan is a force to be reckoned with in the pool… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

Under water, Arman Momdzhyan has taken his share of physical abuse. He's been elbowed, kicked and had his swim suit torn.

The windfall for the punishment has been significant for Momdzhyan above water, where he's become the consummate goal scorer for the sizzling Glendale High boys' water polo team. It hasn't been easy accepting the constant battering, but there's no alternative for the towering Momdzhyan — a 6-foot-3 junior driver — because he's clearly in no mood to retaliate.

"It's very tough to take because players basically do whatever they want under water," said Momdzhyan, who has scored 76 goals in 10 matches this season for the Nitros. "Their objective is to make you retaliate, but you can't overreact and let them get under your skin.

"The best thing for me to do is just keep playing and trying to help my team win. The idea is to win, not hurt anybody. I just like to be able to go out there and play fair. All athletes, no matter the sport, need to be self-disciplined. It's tough to play sports, but you have to be able to play smart."

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The Nitros (8-2) are delighted that Momdzhyan has been their go-to player for goals. He scored 40 goals in five matches in the recent Los Altos Tournament, including a team-best six against La Serna in a 14-12 win in the championship match Sept. 15 at Schurr High in Montebello.

The victory catapulted the Nitros to the No. 1 spot in the latest CIF Southern Section Division V poll and further boosted their confidence heading into Pacific League play, where Glendale looks to defend a title it won last season for the first time since 2002 before advancing to the quarterfinals under fourth-year coach Forest Holbrook.

"We came into the tournament confident, and wanted to come out of there in first," said Momdzhyan, a reigning All-Area first-teamer last season. "We got on track and everybody chipped in.

"I think it's something we can build off. We know that we can compete against a lot of the good teams in the division. It's hard to be the No. 1 team, but it's even harder to keep the No. 1 spot."

Last season, Momdzhyan provided Glendale a good-sized sampling of his goal-scoring capabilities. Momdzhyan scored 146 goals and drew 58 ejections en route to being the lone sophomore to garner All-CIF Division V first-team honors.

Holbrook, whose team will next compete Thursday in the Villa Park Tournament, said Momdzhyan refined his overall game to provide the Nitros with another offensive dimension.

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