M. Water Polo: Cerritos places fourth at the SoCal Championships

File Photo: Tim Robles and the Falcons finished fourth at the SoCal Championships
File Photo: Tim Robles and the Falcons finished fourth at the SoCal Championships
With a chance to knock off Golden West College for the first time in over 20 years, the Cerritos College men's water polo team saw a late lead slip away and dropped a 13-12 decision in the Southern California Regional Semifinals. The Falcons (22-11), seeded #5 for the playoffs and already qualified for the 3C2A State Tournament, went on to face #6-seeded Cuesta College in the third place game. Cerritos, who had lost their last two meetings with the Cougars in the postseason, were defeated, 18-15 and finished in fourth place. It was the third straight postseason win by the Cougars over the Falcons dating back to 2016. The last time Cerritos defeated Cuesta in the postseason was back in 2015.

The Falcons will be seeded #4 and open the 3C2A State Tournament on November 16 against the top seed from Northern California, West Valley College, at College of Marin.
Cerritos vs. Golden West: The Falcons opened the game by scoring the first three goals, but saw the top-seeded Rustlers take a 6-5 lead into halftime. Cerritos found themselves down, 11-7 late in the third quarter, but started a scoring run with one second left in the quarter on a goal by sophomore Silvestre Chavez (Downey HS) . The Falcons were able to clamp down on defense, as Golden West looked to crash the middle on offense. That helped them score four straight times in the fourth quarter and take a 12-11 lead with just :58 seconds remaining. The Falcons were called for a five-meter penalty, with Golden West converting to tie the game at 12-12 with :40 seconds remaining. A bad pass on the team's next offensive possession opened the door for the Rustlers to score the eventual game-winning goal with :14 seconds left. Cerritos had one last chance to tie the game, but could not get off a shot.

Freshman Timothy Robles (Schurr HS) led the team with three goals, while the trio of Chavez, sophomore Allan Jimenez (Schurr HS) and freshman Diego Diaz (Montebello HS) each scoring twice. Chavez also assisted on four goals, while Robles drew four exclusions. Sophomore goalkeeper Diego Campos (Downey HS) made nine saves in goal and assisted on one of the team's goals.
Cerritos vs. Cuesta: Both teams experienced a great deal of success early on, with the Falcons opening a 6-4 lead after the first period. Their 10-8 advantage at intermission disappeared after the Cougars outscored Cerritos, 4-1 in the third quarter for a 12-11 lead. Trailing, 13-11 in the fourth quarter, Robles and Hurtado each scored to tie the game at 13-13. With 4:37 left in the game, it was a 14-14 game until Cuesta scored the next four goals to take a convincing lead late in the game. The end result was an 18-15 loss.

Robles scored six of the Falcons goals, while Chavez contributed three goals, five steals and four assists. Diaz and Jacob Colon (Schurr HS) both posted a pair of goals.