In their fourth meeting of the season, the Cerritos College men's water polo team suffered the same fate as in their first three meetings. Facing each other in their South Coast Conference regular season finale, the Falcons (17-12, 3-2) dropped a 13-10 decision to the Vikings (24-1, 5-0) and finished in third place in the regular season. The South Coast Conference Tournament is scheduled for Nov. 7-9 at the Falcon Aquatic Center.
The two teams battled back and fourth in the first period, with eight goals being scored and the Vikings taking a 5-3 lead. At no time in the game was Cerritos able to even up with Long Beach City, and got as close as 7-5 in the first half. In fact, the Falcons had a 6-on-4 advantage and could not capitalize, while they also missed out on two five-meter penalty shots, as both shots hit the post.
Sophomore Brian Luque-Gutierrez (Salazar y Herrera, Colombia) opened the third period with a goal at 6:41 to get Cerritos to within, 7-6. Long Beach responded with three consecutive goals to take an 11-6 lead that would not be threatened. The Falcons were turned away on multiple possessions in a row, with the Vikings scoring four man advantage goals in the second half. On the other side, Cerritos was 0-for-7 on their power plays in the game.
It was an 11-9 game to start the fourth period after sophomore Nik Klimpfinger (Los Alamitos HS) scored. But, once again, Long Beach City came back and scored two straight goals to regain a four-goal lead.
Luque-Gutierrez led the team with four goals, with six other players scoring once. Sophomore Kevin Elizarraraz (Buena Park HS) assisted on five of the team's goals, with sophomore goalie Zachary Jenkins (La Serna HS) making 14 blocks in a losing cause.
Photos by Daryl Peterson.
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