Playing the toughest schedule in the state has paid off for the Cerritos College men's water polo team, as they have been seeded #4 for the Southern California Regional Playoffs. The Falcons (19-13), who came in third place in the South Coast Conference, will face #5-seeded Cuesta College at 10:15 a.m. on Friday at Riverside City College. Earlier in the year, Cerritos posted a 9-8 win over the Cougars (23-8), who won the Western State Conference tournament championship.
On the year, the Falcons played 17 of their games against teams that qualified for the SoCal Regional Playoffs. Although they went 5-12 in those games, their strength of schedule, coupled with their win over Cuesta, helped them earn the seed. By contrast, the Cougars only played seven of their games against teams that qualified for the SoCal Regional Playoffs.
Cerritos has been led this season by sophomore Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS), who paces the team in goals (77) and steals (44), while his 34 assists ranks third on the team. Freshman Brian Luque-Gutierrez (Salazar y Herrera, Colombia) has scored 62 goals and leads the team with 46 assists, while freshman Seamus MacDonald (Long Beach Millikan HS) has accounted for 44 goals and has drawn a team-high 53 exclusions. Posting 33 goals this season, sophomore Mateo Fernandez (St. John Bosco HS) is fourth on the team with two others adding over 20 goals. Sophomore Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) leads the defense in goal with a state-leading 307 saves and ranks fourth in the state in save percentage ot 55.5%.
Leading the Cougars this season have been the tandem of Jack Felsted (63 goals) and Aleksa Sisikovic (60 goals, 33 steals), while Jacob Sill and Zachary Tuckers have contributed 44 and 43 goals, respectively. Layne Porter has directed the offense with 52 assists, with six players posting at least 20 steals. In goal, the Cougars have rotated both Mason Smith (92 saves) and Colton Boyd (85 saves) sharing most of the duty.
In their meeting this season, the Falcons 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 Elizarraraz and Luque-Gutierrez 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 MacDonald 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 Jenkins recorded 12 saves. Elizarraraz led the team with four goals, while MacDonald and Luque-Gutierrez, who also added four assists, each scored twice. For Cuesta, Felsted scored six of their eight goals, while Smith recorded 20 saves.
December 16, 2019 M. Water Polo: Pair earns All-American honors
November 15, 2019 M. Water Polo: Sudden death playoff loss ends season
November 10, 2019 M. Water Polo: Cerritos seeded #4 for SoCal Regional Playoffs
November 9, 2019 M. Water Polo: Win earns Falcons third place in conference
November 7, 2019 M. Water Polo: Semifinal loss sends Falcons to 3rd Place game
October 30, 2019 M. Water Polo: Long Beach hands Falcons loss for the fourth time
October 26, 2019 M. Water Polo: Third tournament sees Falcons lose to same trio
October 23, 2019 M. Water Polo: Conference loss drops team into second place
October 12, 2019 M. Water Polo: Falcons earn tough win over Orange Coast
October 9, 2019 M. Water Polo: Victory over Chaffey ninth in a row for Cerritos
October 4, 2019 M. Water Polo: Team posts two wins at mini tournament
October 2, 2019 M. Water Polo: Conference win extends streak to six games
September 27, 2019 M. Water Polo: Cerritos posts pair of wins at tournament
September 22, 2019 M. Water Polo: East Coast trip nets three wins
September 18, 2019 M. Water Polo: Cerritos opens conference with a win
September 7, 2019 M. Water Polo: Team takes one of four games at Golden West Tournament
August 31, 2019 M. Water Polo: Falcons open season with four tournament wins