W. Water Polo: Post-season chances take a hit with losses

Jackie Oliveros scored the winning goal against Saddleback
Jackie Oliveros scored the winning goal against Saddleback

In the last 10 days, the Cerritos College women's water polo team's post-season chances have taken a huge hit, as they have gone 3-7 in the last 10 days. Included in those losses were a pair of setbacks to South Coast Conference opponent Mt. San Antonio College, who the Falcons will need to beat in the upcoming conference tournament in early November if they are to have any chance of a post-season bid. Over the weekend, the Falcons (10-10) dropped three of four games at the Battle at the Beach Tournament, which included a 10-8 setback at the hands of the Mounties. Cerritos opened the tournament with a 12-5 loss to San Joaquin Delta College, followed by a 5-4 win over Saddleback College. The second day started with their loss to Mt. SAC and ended with a 6-3 loss to Cuesta College. Five of the team's losses this season have been by three goals or less.

Cerritos vs. San Joaquin Delta: Taking on one of only three teams in the state with 20 wins, the Falcons trailed just 3-2 after the first quarter. But the Mustangs used their bench depth to wear down Cerritos as the game wore on and outscored them 9-3 the rest of the way. Playing without their second-leading goal scorer Lizbeth Gomez (Schurr HS), sophomore Elisa Prohroff (Schurr HS) stepped up and scored four of the team's goals, while she also added a team-leading four steals. Freshman Hailey Rabb (Gahr HS) assisted on three of the goals for Cerritos, who turned the ball over 19 times, which aided Delta in their win.

Cerritos vs. Saddleback: Locked in a tight battle from beginning to end, the Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Gomez and sophomore Isabella Sierra (California HS) in the first quarter. It was a 4-1 lead until the Gauchos scored the next three goals to tie the game with 3:54 left in the fourth quarter. With both teams missing out on scoring chances, sophomore Jackie Oliveros (Gahr HS) scored the eventual game-winning goal with :37 seconds left. Saddleback got off a great shot in the final seconds, but sophomore goalkeeper Ivanna Tostado (Troy HS) made one of her 12 saves to preserve the win. Gomez scored two of the team's goals, while Oliveros added a pair of assists and steals.

Cerritos vs. Mt. San Antonio: With a loss to the Mounties 10 days earlier in their conference match, the Falcons knew a win would restore some confidence knowing they would have to face off a third time in the conference tournament. After falling behind 3-1 in the first period, Cerritos stormed back on a goal by Prohroff before the end of the first period, with Sierra scoring twice and Rabb once in the second quarter for a 5-4 Falcons lead. Mt. SAC would counter with three straight goals until Rabb tied the game at 6-6 early in the third quarter. The teams traded goals until the Mounties took a 9-7 lead midway through the final quarter. Rabb scored on a man advantage with 3:55 left, but that's all the scoring for the Falcons, with Mt. SAC adding an insurance goal with 2:32 left on the clock. Cerritos took 29 shots, but only scored eight times, with Sierra and Rabb each posting a trio of goals. Tostado made 11 saves in the loss.

Cerritos vs. Cuesta: Playing in the 11th place game in the 24-team tournament, the Falcons struggled with their offense and could only score single goals in the first, third and fourth quarters. The low scoring output wasn't for lack of effort, as Cerritos took 32 shots in the game. The Cougars took an early 2-0 lead in the first quarter until Rabb scored. Down 5-1, Rabb scored again in the third quarter, while Sierra made it a 5-3 game with her fourth quarter goal with 2:09 left on the clock. That turned out to be all they could put on the board and the team suffered another close loss.

This week, the team will host Los Angeles Trade-Tech College in a 3:00 p.m. conference match before entering the Santa Barbara Tournament over the weekend.

Photos by Daryl Peterson