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All systems go for Glendale High water polo's Manuk Piloyan

Glendale High boys' water polo player has thrived at both ends of the pool to put the Nitros on the doorstep of their first CIF championship.

November 21, 2013|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • Glendale High water polo player Manuk Piloyan is ready to lead his school Nitros to a CIF Southern Section Division V title. (Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)
Glendale High water polo player Manuk Piloyan is ready…

Playing with an edge while committed to his respective roles on offense and defense has made Manuk Piloyan symbolic of what the Glendale High boys’ water polo team strives to be on a match-by-match basis.

He’s quick to come up with a steal while playing tenacious defense at hole/guard and then promptly leads a counterattack that might wind up with the Nitros getting a quality scoring opportunity. There’s always a course of action for Piloyan, a junior, no matter what’s at stake during a contest.

Piloyan pays equal attention to detail at both ends of the pool, making him a threat at all times.

“If I can play anywhere, I’ll play it,” said Piloyan, a third-year varsity athlete. “You have to go out there and be ready for anything, especially during the playoffs.

“We have a lot of players who can do different things. You try to lead the way. In the first half, I focus mostly on defense and, in the second half, I try to get more involved on offense.”

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The method of operation has worked out rather well for Piloyan and the Nitros, who will meet Los Altos at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in the CIF Southern Section Division V championship match at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine.

The top-seeded Nitros (21-6) will make their second straight appearance in the title contest and attempt to win the program’s first CIF crown. Second-seeded Los Altos (21-10) will face Glendale for the third time this season with the Nitros having won the first two meetings.

The Nitros have a host of talented players in the mix, including Arman Momdzhyan and Artak Arzumanyan, who draw their share of attention from the opposition. With Piloyan, it’s unpredictable when he’ll make the swift transition from defense to offense to further ignite Glendale’s quick-strike attack.

Piloyan provides the Nitros, who won their third straight undefeated Pacific League championship, with an abundance of energy. For the most part, he’s developed a quiet self reliance that he can get the job done each match.

“When I first started playing [at Glendale], I would get frustrated if we were scored on,” Piloyan said. “Over time, I learned to keep calm and not show too much emotion.

“It’s just something that you pick up along the way. You work on different things and try to better yourself. You don’t pay attention to the crowd. You just focus on what you need to do out there.”

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