M. Water Polo: Falcons earn tough win over Orange Coast

File Photo: Cerritos picks up one win in four games at Riverside City Tournament
File Photo: Cerritos picks up one win in four games at Riverside City Tournament

Facing some familiar teams, the Cerritos College men's water polo team earned one win in four games over the weekend at the Riverside City Tournament. The Falcons (16-7) opened with a 7-6 battle against Orange Coast College and then suffered defeats at the hands of Long Beach City (14-9), Golden West College (13-5) and Los Angeles Valley College (8-7). The win over the Pirates was their second in seven days, while the three subsequent losses were to the same schools who defeated them at the Golden West Tournament earlier in the season. They will resume South Coast Conference play on Wednesday with a 4:15 p.m. game at Mt. San Antonio College.

Cerritos vs. Orange Coast: In another one-goal battle to the end, the Falcons used a five-goal third period to put them in position to win the game. They scored the first five goals of the third period, with freshmen Brian Luque-Gutierrez (Salazar y Herrera, Colombia) and Seamus MacDonald (Long Beach Millikan HS) each scoring twice. But the goal by freshman Mario Vanzillotta (Colegio Palas, Brazil) with 2:07 left in the period turned out to be the game-winning goal. The Pirates (6-4) started closing the gap with two goals in the final 1:15 of the third period and also accounted for the lone two goals in the fourth period. It was a 7-6 contest after OCC's Ryan Baumann scored with :34 seconds left, but Cerritos was able to hold on for the win. Luque-Gutierrez led the team with three goals, with MacDonald posting his two goals and sophomore Nik Klimpfinger (Los Alamitos HS) assisting on a pair. Just as he has all season, sophomore goalie Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) came up with big save after another and finished the game with 19 saves.

Cerritos vs. Long Beach City: Taking on their South Coast Conference rivals for the second time this season, the Falcons surrendered six first-period goals, including five in a row. Trailing, 8-4 at halftime, Cerritos scored two of the first three goals in the second half, but could not keep Long Beach from scoring the next three to take an insurmountable 13-7 advantage. MacDonald and sophomore Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS) led the team with three goals each, while Luque-Gutierrez posted a pair of tallies. Klimpfinger added three more assists to his season total, with Jenkins making seven saves.

Cerritos vs. Golden West: Another team that has defeated the Falcons twice this season, the three-time defending CCCAA State Champion Rustlers turned a tight 4-2 game at intermission into a 10-3 game after the third period. Cerritos was able to use a tight defensive approach to keep the game close, but saw Golden West execute their offense at the start of the second half and could not recover. Luque-Gutierrez and freshman Juan Anguiano (Kennedy HS) each scored twice, with Vanzillotta posting a pair of assists. Jenkins and freshman goalie Nate Pineda (La Mirada HS) combined for nine saves.

Cerritos vs. Los Angeles Valley: In their final game of the tournament, the Falcons fought back and almost sent their game into overtime against the Monarchs, who reached the state championship game last season. Trailing 8-5, freshman John Gomez (La Serna HS) scored with 1:44 left in the fourth quarter. After a defensive stop, Luque-Gutierrez pulled the team to within 8-7 after his goal with 1:09 left on the clock. A save by Jenkins promtped a timeout with :15 seconds left to set up for the tying goal. But that goal would not come, and LA Valley came away with their second win over Cerritos this season. Luque-Gutierrez scored twice, with five others accounting for one goal each. Jenkins turned away 11 shots and posted a pair of steals.