W. Water Polo: Final tournament tunes up Falcons for conference tourney

File Photo: Amy Cervantes set a new school record for most assists in a season
File Photo: Amy Cervantes set a new school record for most assists in a season

With the South Coast Conference Tournament slated for next week, the Cerritos College women's water polo team competed in their final regular season tournament on Saturday. Playing three games in one day at the Santa Barbara Halloween Invitational, the Falcons picked up one win. They opened with a tough 10-9 loss to Los Angeles Valley College and followed that with a come-from-behind 11-7 victory over West Valley College. The day ended with a 8-5 loss to the host Vaqueros. Cerritos will serve as the host location for the conference tournament, which will run from Thursday through Saturday. The Falcons (17-8) will be the #2-seed for the tournament.

Cerritos vs. Los Angeles Valley: After allowing the first two goals of the game, the Falcons scored five straight before the Monarchs closed out the half with an empty net goal at the buzzer. Freshman Gabby Arenas (Montebello HS) scored two of those goals, with three others scoring once. In the second half, freshman Mia Carbajal (Schurr HS) scored to give the Falcons a 6-3 advantage, but after LA Valley scored three straight, it was a tie game. The third period closed out with sophomore Marisela Olivas (Schurr HS) giving Cerritos a 7-6 lead on her goal with :41 seconds left. Once again, the Falcons scored first to start a period, but the Monarchs scored three straight times to take their first lead since the first period. Sophomore Mayra Olivas (Montebello HS) tied the game at 9-9 with her goal, until LA Valley scored the game's final goal with 1:59 remaining. Cerritos had several chances to tie the game, but could not get another shot to find the back of the net. Arenas, Carbajal and Mayra Olivas all scored twice, while sophomore Amy Cervantes (Montebello HS/East Los Angeles College) posted five assists

Cerritos vs. West Valley: A slow start against the Vikings resulted in the Falcons trailing, 5-2 early in the second period. But the Cerritos defense started to shut down West Valley, with the offense connecting for nine consecutive goals and an 11-5 advantage after three periods. Carbajal and Cervantes scored three goals each during that run, which included a Carbajal goal with :01 left in the first half for a 7-5 lead. Although they were held off the board in the fourth quarter, the offensive production was enough to record the win. Cervantes (four goals, three assists), Carbajal (three goals) and sophomore Carolina Medrano (Schurr HS), who had two goals and two assists, led the offense. Freshman goalie April Nuno (Cerritos HS) made 12 saves in the game to record the win. The three assists by Cervantes allowed her to break the college's single-season assist record, breaking the old mark of 83 by Lizbeth Gomez last season. Cervantes now has 85 assists, which also leads the state by 20 assists.

Cerritos vs. Santa Barbara City: Taking on the #2-ranked Vaqueros, the Falcons worked to fight back from a 7-1 deficit, but ran out of time in their loss. Arenas and Mayra Olivas scored consecutive goals in the third period, and after Santa Barbara scored, picked up the final two goals of the game. Mayra Olivas scored her second goal of the game in the fourth period, with Carbajal closing out the scoring with a goal in the final minute. Cervantes added to her state-leading assist total with two more, while Mayra Olivas also played a good defensive game and recorded three field blocks.