Redemption is key for the Cerritos Falcons Mens Waterpolo Team

Jonathan Garza and Jonathan Garza

After a season resulting with a 20-14 record, clinching a second place finish in the South Coast Conference, and falling a game short of qualifying for the State Championships, the Cerritos College men’s water polo team is ready to get right back to work as the 2012 season is set to begin.

Returning to the squad is goalie Michael Skinas and utility Rafael Romero, who were named to the All-SCC First Team last season. They are joined by All-Conference Second Team drivers, Daric Johnson and Chad Castro, as well as 2-meter Sam Raya.

Joining in on the action this season will be Coleton Perez, a player that is fully capable of challenging Skinas for the starting job, said Coach Joe Abing, which speaks volumes about the depth for Cerritos College as they guard the net.

Accompanying Perez will be Andrew Tijerina, Christian Cordova, Miguel Garcia and Albert Kim.

They will look to replace the loss of Isaac Ogloblin among others. Ogloblin led the team with 92 goals and 69 steals, also contributing 50 assists, good for second on the squad. His 92 goals were the second most in school history, ending his career with a total of 174 goals.

When asked about any one player that fans could look out for while attending games, Coach Joe Abing said, “We have a deep team. If anyone attends our games I think they would be impressed with everyone’s effort on the team.”

Abing then said, “We should have a balanced team. Hopefully everyone will be contributing. If we all fulfill our roles, we can do very well.”

The Cerritos College men’s water polo team can expect stiff competition from inside their conference, especially from defending champion Long Beach and Mount San Antonio, which finished in third place, just behind the Cerritos College men’s water polo team.

A target could be painted on the back of the Long Beach Water Polo team, who defeated the Cerritos College men’s water polo team in all four meetings just a year ago, including the game that would eliminate the Cerritos College men’s water polo team from qualifying for the State Championships, where Long Beach placed third.

The Cerritos College men’s water polo team has been to the Conference Championship eight times in the last nine seasons, winning it once. Coach Abing certainly sees the Cerritos College men’s water polo team reaching it a ninth time, and utilizing his depth, could very well win it, perhaps even getting to the State Championships.

The most important thing in Coach Abing’s opinion is for his squad to practice and prepare like champions.

All the hard work and dedication will lead to the team’s season opener, a trip to Annapolis, Md., where they will visit the Naval Academy for the annual Navy Labor Day Open which is a tournament pitting 12 teams from across the Nation against each other. The tournament will take place on Sept. 2-4.

The home opener is scheduled for a double-header on Wednesday, Sept. 14, where at 4:15 p.m., the Cerritos College men’s water polo team will host Long Beach followed by a 7:00 p.m. game against Cal Tech.