M. Water Polo: East Coast trip nets three wins

Men's Water Polo toured New York City before their tournament in Connecticut
Men's Water Polo toured New York City before their tournament in Connecticut

Playing four games in two days at the Connecticut Tournament over the weekend, the Cerritos College men's water polo team netted three wins. The Falcons (9-4) opened with a 13-7 loss to MIT before rebounding for an 18-11 win over Saddleback College. On the second day, Cerritos picked up wins against the host Camels (16-12) and finished with a hard fourth 8-5 win over Iona College. The team will travel to San Diego Mesa College this weekend to compete in another tournament.

Cerritos vs. MIT: It took time for the Falcons to get going against the Engineers, as they were held off the scoreboard in the first period. Freshman Sebastian Orrego (North Providence, RI) and Seamus MacDonald (Long Beach Millikan HS) scored in the second period, but my halftime MIT was holding a strong 6-2 lead. Two quick goals by the Engineers put Cerritos behind, 8-2, with the trio of Mateo Fernandez (St. John Bosco HS), Luke Wolfe (Corona HS) and Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS) scoring for the Falcons. Goals by Brian Luque-Gutierrez and Nik Klimpfinger (Los Alamitos HS) weren't enough, as the Falcons dropped the first game of the tournament. Sophomore goalie Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) posted 14 saves in the game.

Cerritos vs. Saddleback: Playing a familiar California opponent, the Falcons were able to take a commanding 7-1 lead after the first period against the Gauchos (3-3). Elizarraraz scored two of the goals in the period, with five others finding the back of the net. Freshman Nate Pineda (La Mirada HS) saw most of the action in net and picked up his first win of the season and made 11 stops. Luque-Gutierrez led the way with four goals and assisted on three others, with Elizarraraz scoring three times and also handing out a trio of helpers. Fernandez, Orrego and MacDonald all scored twice in the win.

Cerritos vs. Connecticut College: In the win over the Camels, the Falcons opened a 4-2 lead after the first period, but found themselves in a battle late in the second period when the scored was 6-5. Cerritos picked up goals in the final minute from both MacDonald and Luque-Gutierrez to take an 8-5 lead into the half. The game got as close as 10-8 late in the third, but the Falcons responded once again with two last-minute goals, this time from Luque-Gutierrez and Fernandez. Elizarraraz, who finished with a game-high six goals, scored three of them in the fourth period to secure the win. Luque-Gutierrez added three goals and a season-high seven assists, with Jenkins big in goal with 14 saves.

Cerritos vs. Iona College: Once again, it was the play of Jenkins in goal that gave the Falcons a chance to post the win, as he turned away 24 shots against the Gaels. Cerritos was called for 15 exclusions in the game and limited Iona to just three power play goals, mainly due to the play of Jenkins. The Falcons jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the second period, with Elizarraraz and freshman John Gomez (La Serna HS) posting a pair of goals each. The Gaels (3-7) scored three strait goals to make it a 7-5 game in the third period, but Luque-Gutierrez scored what turned out to be the final goal of the game with 2:51 left in the third period. Neither team scored in the fourth period. Elizarraraz finished with three goals, while Gomez and Luque-Gutierrez both added two goals.