W. Water Polo: Third place finish secures post-season nod for Falcons

Karol Martinez scored three goals and assisted on three others in the Falcons third place win
Karol Martinez scored three goals and assisted on three others in the Falcons third place win

With their third place finish at the South Coast Conference Championships, the Cerritos College women's water polo team has locked down a spot for the Southern California Regional Championships. The Falcons (14-12), who defeated Chaffey College, 10-6 in the third place match on Saturday, opened with a 19-5 win over Rio Hondo College and then lost a heartbreaker, 10-9 to Mt. San Antonio College in the semifinals. The seeding of the 10 teams advancing to the regional playoffs will take place on Sunday, with Cerritos serving as the host for the playoffs from November 8-10.

Cerritos vs. Rio Hondo: The Falcons opened the conference tournament with a comfortable win over the Roadrunners. It was a 6-2 lead after the first period, while Cerritos matched their goal output in the second period for a 12-3 lead at intermission. Freshman Kate De La Mora (Schurr HS) would end up coming within one goal of tying the school's single-game record for most goals, as she finished with nine against Rio Hondo. In 2017, Isabella Sierra scored 10 goals in a game. De La Mora had seven goals in the first half. Getting her the ball was the trio of freshman Carolina Medrano (Schurr HS), sophomore Lizbeth Gomez (Schurr HS) and freshman Karol Martinez (Warren HS), who combined for 12 assists in the match. Seven other players scored for the Falcons, while Gomez and freshman Mayra Olivas (Montebello HS) shared the team lead with four steals.

Cerritos vs. Mt. San Antonio: Looking for a win over the Mounties, which would advance the team to the conference championship game, the Falcons came up a goal short. Trailing 7-3 in the second period, Cerritos got a pair of goals from De La Mora to draw to within 7-5 by halftime. A goal by Medrano early in the third period drew the team to within 7-6, but Miranda Silva of Mt. SAC would score to make it an 8-6 game with just the fourth period remaining. The teams traded goals in the fourth period, with the Falcons unable to tie the match at any time. De La Mora scored with 1:47 left before the Mounties regained a two-goal lead, while Medrano made it a 10-9 match with :47 seconds remaining. Cerritos would get one more possession, but were unable to tie the match and send it to overtime. De La Mora and Medrano each scored three times, while Olivas assisted on three goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Dulce Medina (Paramount HS), who made five saves in the match earlier in the day, came up with seven stops against the Mounties.

Cerritos vs. Chaffey: The Panthers scored the first goal of the match, but the Falcons countered with the next eight goals to take a commanding lead. Late in the first period, De La Mora scored one of her three goals in a power play situation with :19 seconds remaining for a 3-1 advantage. It was a buzzer-beating goal by Martinez (three goals, three assists) at the end of the first half that sent Cerritos into intermission with a 7-1 lead. The Panthers did make a second half comeback and drew to within 9-6, but Medrano finished the game off on a goal with 1:34 left in the match to seal the victory. With her five thefts against Chaffey, Olivas has set a new single-season school record with 103 thefts, breaking the old mark of 98 steals, which was set by Stephanie Tuning in 2011. As for Gomez, she continues to add to her school-record assist total and now has 80 on the year. De La Mora is now ninth in school history with 83 goals on the season and is three away from moving ahead of Angelica Hernandez, who had 85 goals in 2012. Gomez and Olivas also lead the state with their respective totals, while De La Mora is sixth in the state.

Photos by Daryl Peterson