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Glendale High boys' water polo brings home CIF championship

Water Polo: Piloyan steps up as Nitros win first CIF title, 13-11, over Los Altos.

November 23, 2013|By Gabriel Rizk, Special to the Glendale News-Press
  • Glendale High's Arman Momdzhyan holds up the 2013 championship plaque as he celebrates with teammates after beating Los Altos in a CIF Southern Section Division V championship match at Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine on Saturday. (Kevin Chang/Staff Photographer)
Glendale High's Arman Momdzhyan holds up the 2013…

Glendale High boys’ water polo Coach Forest Holbrook said his team had worked in practice on what it would do in a make-or-break situation with its top scorer out of the game at the end of Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Division V championship match.

Having an emergency plan in mind is one thing, but executing it to perfection in the final minutes of the biggest match in program history is quite another.

On Saturday, it was the difference between once again coming close and finally closing out on the ultimate prize.

Manuk Piloyan’s two fourth-quarter goals were the deciding factor in the Nitros holding off Los Altos, 13-11, before a capacity crowd at William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine for the first CIF title in boys’ water polo in school history and the school’s first CIF crown in any sport since the boys’ volleyball team won it all in 1989.

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It was the second straight appearance in the CIF finals for Glendale, which lost to Pasadena Poly in 2012.

“I had to step up and score,” said Piloyan (four goals), who elevated over the Conquerors defense for a one-bounce skip shot from seven meters with 1:04 left in the match to give Glendale its final two-goal margin. “It feels really good. We finally won. Coming back from last year when we lost, it pumped me up really good scoring that goal.”

Arman Momdzhyan, who led all scorers with six goals, watched from the bench for the final few tense possessions after picking up his third exclusion of the match with 2:22 left.

For all intents and purposes, Momdzhyan had been taken out of the match as a scorer well before that when Los Altos recommitted its defensive focus to stopping the senior two-meter at all costs following his three-goal spurt midway through the third period.

“It was very tough, it was stressful, like you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Momdzhyan said of being banished to the pool deck with his team clinging to a 12-11 lead. “Anything can happen in the last minutes of the game and I’ve got to give credit to Los Altos. They played a great game, but our team just stuck through it.”

Glendale took a 10-8 lead on Momdzhyan’s final goal of the afternoon, a sweep shot from the left side that skimmed the surface with several quick bounces with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

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