M. Water Polo: Fourth period lead slips away in conference tournament championship game

File Photo: Falcons come up short in conference championship game
File Photo: Falcons come up short in conference championship game

Just 4:18 away from their first South Coast Conference Tournament championship since 2016, the Cerritos College men's water polo team saw Mt. San Antonio College score the last three goals of the game and post a 14-13 on Saturday. The Falcons (21-9), who were the #1-seeded team in the tournament, did not trail at any point in the game until the #2-seeded Mounties scored what would be the game-winning goal with 1:41 left on the clock. Cerritos was unable to score again and had to settle for second place for the 11th time since 2014. The team will now wait to find out where they have been seeded for the Southern California Regional Playoffs.

It was a high-scoring affair after the first period, with Cerritos leading, 5-4, thanks in part to a pair of goals from Silvestre Chavez (Downey HS). The match was tied seven times, with the Falcons holding an 8-5 lead, their biggest of the game, after a Chavez goal with 4:06 left in the first half. Mt. SAC accounted for the next three goals, while the teams traded goals in the third period until Kobe Hurtado (Cerritos HS) and Jacob Colon (Schurr HS) each scored to give the Falcons a 12-10 lead with 2:34 left in the third quarter.

Once again, the Mounties responded with a goal before the end of the period. Allan Jimenez (Schurr HS) opened the scoring in the fourth period to make it a 13-11 advantage, but that would turn out to be the final goal of the game for the Falcons. Mt. San Antonio scored the final three goals of the game to pull out the win.

Chavez and Timothy Robles (Schurr HS) each scored three times and assisted on four goals, with Jimenez and Colon both scoring twice. Goalkeeper Diego Campos (Downey HS) kept the team in front most of the game with his 10 saves, but suffered the loss in goal.