M. Water Polo: Falcons open season with three wins at tourney

The Falcons won three of four at the Golden West Tournament
The Falcons won three of four at the Golden West Tournament

In their first action of the season, the Cerritos College men's water polo team picked up three wins in their four games at the Golden West Tournament over the weekend. The Falcons (3-1) picked up a 12-10 win over American River College on Friday and then suffered a 20-5 setback at the hands of Los Angeles Valley College in their second game of the day. They rebounded on Saturday with wins over both Palomar College (13-8) and Saddleback College (8-7). The team will host El Camino College in their home opener on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., which will also serve as their first South Coast Conference match.

Cerritos vs. American River: Leading the entire game, the Falcons had to withstand a late Beavers comeback attempt. After American River closed the gap to 10-9 midway through the fourth period, freshman Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS) scored a pair of goals to give Cerritos a 12-9 lead they would hold on to. His goals :35 seconds apart were enough to secure the victory and were his only two tallies of the day. Sophomores Raul Muniz (Colbach, Mexico) and Arturo Ortuno (Universidad la Salle, Mexico) each scored three times, with sophmore Dylan Sun (Cerritos HS) accounting for six of the team's 25 steals over American River. Muniz and Ortuno combined for seven steals, while freshman goalkeeper Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) picked up three steals to go along with his eight saves.

Cerritos vs. Los Angeles Valley: The closest the Falcons would get to the Brahmas was 3-2 in the first period after freshman Rodrigo Baca (Kennedy HS) scored with 2:41 left on the clock. But LA Valley would go on to score the next 17 straight goals and left Cerritos reeling. A trio of goalies combined for five saves, with five different players scoring once for the Falcons.

Cerritos vs. Palomar: Looking to regroup against the Comets the following morning, the Falcons used a six-goal fourth period to turn a close 7-5 game into a five-goal win. Muniz scored the first two goals of the fourth period for Cerritos, while four other players scored once in the final period. Jenkins made a season-high 14 saves, with Elizarraraz leading the way on offense with four goals and also drew four ejections. Muniz, Sun and sophomore Jake Evans (Long Beach Wilson HS) all scored twice, with seven different players getting on the scoreboard. Sun also registered five steals in the match.

Cerritos vs. Saddleback: Facing the Gauchos, the Falcons saved the dramatics for their final game. Clinging to a close 8-7 lead after Muniz put them on top with 5:21 left in the fourth period, Jenkins came up with a save on a five-meter shot after getting called for the penalty. The stop came with 3:30 remaining in the game, and Cerritos was able to hold off Saddleback for the win. Jenkins had 13 saves in the match, while the offense was led by Elizarraraz, who had three goals. The Falcons did commit 22 turnovers on the day, but countered with 15 steals, led by Ortuno and Baca with four swipes apiece.