M. Water Polo: Pair of wins at tournament sets up big conference game

File Photo: Allan Jimenez and the Falcons won a pair of games on Saturday
File Photo: Allan Jimenez and the Falcons won a pair of games on Saturday

On Saturday, the Cerritos College men's water polo team secured a pair of wins on the second day of the Golden West Invitational. The Falcons (19-8) posted victories over both Sierra College (12-8) and Los Angeles Valley College (16-11), which earned them three wins in four games over the weekend. The team will now host rival Long Beach City College at 3:00 p.m. in a South Coast Conference match. Currently, the Cerritos is in first place in the conference and a win will not only earn them the top seed for the conference tournament, it will give head coach Joe Abing his 10th 20-win season since taking over in 2003.

In the win over Sierra, The Falcons opened a 5-3 lead after the first period and then shut out the Wolverines in the second period for an 8-3 advantage at intermission. Sophomore Allan Jimenez (Schurr HS) scored two of the team's goals in the first period, with sophomore Eric Estrada (Cerritos HS) recording two of their three goals in the second period. Sierra came out strong in the second half and drew to within 9-7 in the fourth period until Estrada and freshman Timothy Robles (Schurr HS) each scored to put the Falcons in front 11-7 on their way to the win.

Estrada finished the game with four goals, while Jimenez had three, while sophomore Silvestre Chavez (Downey HS) and freshman Jacob Colon (Schurr HS) each assisted on three of the team's goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Diego Campos (Downey HS) played the entire game in net and turned away nine shots.

The tournament ended with a back-and-fourth game against Los Angeles Valley, where Cerritos led the entire game but had to fight off the Monarchs several times. Leading just 6-5 late in the second period, the Falcons received a goal from Jimenez before halftime, while the team scored the first three goals to start the second half, which improved their lead to 10-5. Goals by Colon, Robles and sophomore Kobe Hurtado (Cerritos HS) accounted for the early third period goals, with the teams trading goals the remainder of the game.

Robles finished with a season-high six goals on seven shots to go along with three steals and a pair of assists, with the quartet of Diego Diaz (Montebello HS), Chavez, Jimenez (four assists) and Colon all scoring twice. Campos also had seven saves in net.