M. Water Polo: Third tournament sees Falcons lose to same trio

The Falcons played four games at the Golden West Tournament
The Falcons played four games at the Golden West Tournament

For the third time this season, the Cerritos College men's water polo team faced the same trio of teams, and for the third time, came up short. At the Golden West Tournament II over the weekend, the Falcons (17-11) faced Long Beach City, Los Angeles Valley College and the host Rustlers. After opening the tournament with a 9-8 win over Cuesta College, Cerritos dropped games to the Vikings (14-8), Monarchs (12-7) and Golden West (17-9). The team will host Long Beach City on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. in a South Coast Conference game. The contest was originally scheduled to be played at Long Beach, but construction has forced the need to move the game to Cerritos.

The Falcons, who have faced nine straight state-ranked teams, will see that number go to 10 with their game on Wednesday against Long Beach City. Of the 11 losses by Cerritos, nine game come against the Vikings, Monarchs and Rustlers.

Cerritos vs. Cuesta: With the first game featuring the #4 and #5-ranked teams in the state, it had the feel of a post-season game. The Falcons, ranked #5 in the state, saw their 4-2 lead after the first period turn into a 5-4 deficit after the Cougars scored three times to open the second period. But sophomore Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS) and freshman Brian Luque-Gutierrez (Salazar y Herrera, Colombia) each scored before the end of the first half to give Cerritos a 6-5 advantage. With the game tied at 6-6, Elizarraraz scored two more times, with freshman Seamus MacDonald (Long Beach Millikan HS) also scoring to put the Falcons up, 9-6 heading into the fourth period. Although they didn't score in the final period, Cerritos was able to hold on, as sophomore goalie Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) recorded 12 saves. Elizarraraz led the team with four goals, while MacDonald and Luque-Gutierrez, who also added four assists, each scored twice.

Cerritos vs. Long Beach City: Facing the Vikings for the third time this season, the Falcons were victimized by a seven-goal second period, which put them behind, 11-5 at halftime. Held off the scoreboard for the third period, Cerritos didn't score until the fourth period, and accounted for the final three goals of the game. Luque-Gutierrez and Elizarraraz each posted a pair of goals, while freshman Eduardo Rodriguez (Buena Park HS) recorded three steals on defense. Sophomore Mateo Fernandez (St. John Bosco HS) was effective in front of the net and drew four ejections.

Cerritos vs. Los Angeles Valley: Another team the Falcons have faced multiple times already this season, the Monarchs picked up their third win in as many meetings. Cerritos started off fast and took a 5-3 lead after the first period. MacDonald scored four of the goals in the period, but the LA Valley defense would go on lockdown, leaving the Falcons off the scoreboard in the second period. Trailing 7-5 at halftime, Cerritos took their turn shutting down LA Valley in the third period and scored twice to tie the game at 7-7 with just the fourth period to play. But once again, the Monarchs executed on their offensive possessions and scored all five goals in the period to pull away for the win. MacDonald finished with his four goals, with sophomore Rodrigo Baca (Kennedy HS) assisting on two of the team's goals.

Cerritos vs. Golden West: Completing the rotation of facing the Rustlers, the Falcons fell behind 5-1 after the first period and were forced to play from behind the whole game. It was a 10-4 game at intermission, with Cerritos getting as close as 10-6 in the third period. But that would be as close as they could get. Elizarraraz led the team with three goals, with Luque-Gutierrez and Joey Hurtado (Cerritos HS) each added two.