On the strength of their hard-fought 7-5 defensive win over rival Long Beach City College on Wednesday, the Cerritos College men's water polo team forced a three-way tie for first place in the South Coast Conference. The Falcons (17-7, 4-1), who have a 3:00 p.m. non-conference match against Merced College on Thursday, will open the South Coast Conference Tournament on Thursday, November 1 against the winner of the Mt. San Antonio-El Camino match at 1:00 p.m. The Falcons, the #2-seed for the three-day conference tournament, are serving as the host.
Both teams played very tight defensively, with each possession playing a huge role in the outcome of the game. The Falcons led, 5-4 at intermission, but were held off the scoreboard in the third period, as the Vikings recorded the lone goal in the 8-minute period. Freshman Will Alwine (La Quinta HS) tied the game with 4:48 left in regulation and after both teams failed to change the score for the next three minutes, sophomore Arturo Ortuno (Universidad la Salle, Mexico) gave the team a 7-5 advantage with 1:26 on the clock.
Playing shorthanded after an exclusion against sophomore Raul Muniz (Colbach, Mexico), the Vikings Karlo Krmek made the game 7-6 after his goal with :56 seconds left. Cerritos, looking to burn as much time off the clock as possible, were turned away on their possession, with Long Beach getting one last chance to tie the match. Their final shot attempt was wide of the cage and the Falcons were able to drain the final few seconds for the victory after stealing the ball.
Sophomore goalkeeper Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) came up with 10 huge saves, with several of them keeping the Vikings from taking a two-goal lead and keeping Cerritos one shot away from tying the game multiple times. Muniz and Ortuno each scored twice, with sophomore Dylan Sun (Cerritos HS) and freshman Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS), who had the late steal in the match, each posted four thefts, as the team recorded 17 on the day.
Photos by Daryl Peterson
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