M. Water Polo: Team plays five games at tournament

Cerritos men's water polo team visits Niagara Falls before their tournament
Cerritos men's water polo team visits Niagara Falls before their tournament

Over the weekend, the Cerritos College men's water polo team made a trip to the East Coast to play five games in the Mercyhurst (PA) University Tournament. The Falcons, who took on NCAA Division II and Division III schools, fared well, as they won three of the five games over the course of the three days. They will return home to host Rio Hondo College in 4:30 p.m. South Coast Conference match on Wednesday.

Cerritos vs. Mercyhurst (PA) University: Facing the hosts on the first day, the Falcons were defeated, 9-6 in a close game. The team trailed by as much as 6-1 in the second period, but slowly started to work their way back into the game. It was a 6-3 game in the third period after sophomore Nick Garcia (Montebello HS) and Arturo Ortuno (Universidad La Salle HS, Mexico) scored consecutive goals. A late third period goal by sophomore Salvador Orozco (Montebello HS), followed for an Orozco goal with 3:02 remaining in the game got Cerritos to within 8-6. But that's as close as they would get. Orozco led the team with three goals, with three others accounting for a goal each. The goalkeeping duo of sophomores Matthew Contreras (Montebello HS) and Jason Curiel (El Rancho HS) combined for 11 saves.

Cerritos vs. Penn State-Behrend College: Picking up their first win out of two games on the second day, the Falcons broke open a close 10-9 game with five consecutive fourth quarter goals by five different players on their way to a 15-10 win. Freshman Raul Muniz (Colbach HS, Mexico) got the scoring streak started with 5:18 remaining, followed by goals from sophomore Bryan Santis (La Serna HS) and Ortuno :21 seconds apart. Orozco posted his third goal of the game with 3:03 remaining, with freshman Justin Rudisill (La Quinta HS) tacking on an insurance goal with :51 seconds remaining. Also scoring three times for Cerritos were Muniz and Ortuno, who also assisted on three goals, with sophomore Mark Arroyo (Schurr HS) scoring twice and assisting on two more. As a team, the Falcons recorded 21 steals, as Contreras (seven saves in goal) and freshman Dylan Sun (Cerritos HS) led the way with four each.

Cerritos vs. Washington and Jefferson (PA) College: The Falcons won their second game of the day, with a 13-5 victory. Cerritos scored the first three goals in the first period to take a quick lead, but saw the Presidents close to within, 4-3. Muniz and Sun scored back-to-back goals, followed by three third period goals for a comfortable 9-4 advantage. Orozco scored three straight fourth period goals for a sizable advantage, with Arroyo closing out the scoring. Curiel played the whole game in goal and recorded seven saves, with Orozco leading the team with five goals, while Muniz chipped in with three goals. Sun added three assists and three steals in the win, while Garcia led the team with four steals.

Cerritos vs. Gannon (PA) University: On their last day of the tournament, the Falcons ran out of time in their comeback attempt. Trailing 4-1 in the second period, the offense opened up in the second half, with the two teams combining for eight third period goals. Cerritos got within a goal four times in the third period, but each time, the Golden Knights had an answer. The were out-scored, 4-1 after a sophomore Julian Casillas (Harvard-Westlake HS/University of La Verne) third period goal with 2:14 remaining in the third period got them as close as 7-6. Orozco and Casillas scored three goals each, while Ortuno had a goal, two assists and four steals. Contreras posted 10 saves in a losing cause.

Cerritos vs. Salem International (WV) University: The final game for the Falcons was tight from beginning to end. The score was tied four times and Cerritos trailed twice before turning an 8-8 game in the third period to an 11-8 advantage in the fourth. Casillas gave the team a lead they would not relinquish when he scored with 1:29 remaining in the third period. Santis made it a 10-8 lead early in the fourth period, while Orozco posted his first of two goals in the period with a tally with 2:24 remaining. The Tigers scored twice to get to within 11-10, but Orozco put the team up, 12-10 with 1:08 left. Salem did score with :05 seconds left, but Cerritos was able to hang on for the win. Five different players scored twice for the Falcons, with Muniz and Sun leading the defense with three steals each.