M. Water Polo: Falcons open season with four tournament wins

The Falcon women's cross country team placed 20th in their first meet
The Falcon women's cross country team placed 20th in their first meet

In their first action of the season, the Cerritos College men's water polo team won all four of their games at the Merced Tournament over the weekend. The Falcons (4-0) opened with a 15-8 win over the host Blue Devils, before recording wins over Lindenwood (MO) University (14-6), Sierra College (13-9) and Sierra College (18-7). The team will now compete in the Golden West Tournament next weekend.

Cerritos vs. Merced: The Falcons opened up a 7-2 lead by the end of the first period, with five different players scoring goals. They took a 10-4 lead into halftime and then traded goals with the Blue Devils in the second half. Sophomore Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS) and freshman Brian Luque-Gutierrez each scored three times for Cerritos, as eight different players put goals on the board in the match. Sophomore goalkeeper Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) recorded 11 saves in the win through three quarters of play. Sophomore Rodrigo Baca (Kennedy HS) led the team with three assists.

Cerritos vs. Lindenwood (MO) University: Taking on the NCAA DII Lions, the Falcons once again were able to pull away from their opponent for the second match in a row. After a close 2-1 first quarter, Cerritos shut out Lindenwood in the second quarter, 6-0, with the pair of Gutierrez and Mario Vanzillotta each scoring twice for an 8-1 halftime advantage. Scoring the first two goals of the third quarter extended the team's lead, with Elizarraraz scoring two of his team-high four goals in the fourth quarter, while he also led the team with four assists. Sophomore Nik Klimpfinger (Los Alamitos HS) and freshman Juan Anguiana (Kennedy HS) shared the team lead with three steals, as the Falcons finished with 14. Jenkins recorded nine saves, with freshman Nate Pineda (La Mirada HS) seeing action in the fourth quarter and made a pair of saves.

Cerritos vs. Sierra: Trailing for the first time all season (3-2 in the first quarter), the Falcons and Wolverines were tied, 7-7 at halftime. Solid defense kept Sierra off the scoreboard in the third quarter, as Cerritos scored the only three goals, with Elizarraraz accounting for two of them, and took a 10-7 lead into the fourth quarter. Anguiano and Baca each scored in the fourth quarter for a 12-7 lead until Sierra scored the final three goals of the game, the last with 3:23 left on the clock. But it was the play of Jenkins (nine saves) and the three steals from Kilmpfinger that helped the Falcons hold on for the win. Gutierrez posted a trio of assists to go along with his four goals, while Elizarraraz finished with a game-high six tallies.

Cerritos vs. Modesto: Locked in a close 4-2 game in the second quarter, Elizarraraz scored twice in the span of :40 seconds to give the team a 6-2 advantage, which was 6-3 at halftime. Consecutive goals by Eduardo Rodriguez (Buena Park HS), Zach Estrada (St. John Bosco HS), Seamus MacDonald (Long Beach Millikan HS) and Jose Hurtado (Cerritos HS) to start the third quarter opened the lead to 10-3 and the Falcons never looked back. Outscoring the Pirates, 7-2 in the fourth quarter put the game as an 11-goal win. Hurtado led the team with four goals, with Gutierrez and MacDonald adding three each, with the Falcons getting goals from nine different players. John Gomez (La Serna HS) dished out five assists in the win, while 13 of the 15 field players had at least  one steal. Jenkins turned away seven shots midway through the third quarter, with Pineda coming in to recorded two saves of his own, with both chipping in with one steal each.