The Cerritos College men’s water polo team added the title of South Coast Conference Champions to its list of 2016 season accomplishments.
Saturday, Nov. 5 the Falcons were able to defeat Mt. San Antonio for the second time this season to advance to the finals; where they would play Long Beach City College.
The weekend was one of the most important for the the Falcons thus far as they knew they would have to play Mt. SAC for the chance to play Long Beach.
Head coach Joe Abing said, “It was a big week preparing for it, most of the focus was us preparing for Mt. SAC.”
Even with all the team’s preparations Mt.SAC would not go down easy and the game came down to the final minute, just as it did in their first meeting.
With only 25 seconds left in the final quarter freshman hole set Ever Resendiz scored to give the team a 15-14 lead.
Utility player Jesus Rojas would score with two seconds left to put the final score at 16-14 propelling the Falcons to the finals.
After the tough win the team knew that Long Beach would be a completely different game.
Abing said, “The team felt after that game we didn’t play to our capability, we knew that we had to play a lot better the next day against Long Beach to beat them.”
Sophomore utility player Angel Rojas admitted, “Our main enemy [is] Long Beach.”
Cerritos was able to get its revenge on the Vikings after the they beat the Falcons earlier this season.
The team beat them by a score of 13-11, Long Beach’s only lead was a 1-0 lead in the first quarter.
Abing said, “We picked a time to play one of our better games of the season.”
Rojas said, “Everything went well for us.”
Between the Mt. Sac and Long Beach game the Falcons made a strategic change by switching Angel Rojas from one side of the pool to the other.
Although this may seem like a small change, Angel Rojas is second in the state with 135 goals, and both Abing and Rojas believe it had something to do with their success.
Rojas said, “I usually play on the strong side, but they would double team me so coach [Abing] decided to switch me to the weak side which is more of the passing side, so if they double teamed me it gives the rest of the players an option to shot.”
Although a simple change, it proved to be effective
Abing said, “It allowed our offense to flow a little better with him on that side.
“We were a lot more patient, so it allowed our offense to develop as the game went on and not to be forcing things to much, which is something that has been challenging for us in the past.”
Following the victory Abing said, “It felt incredible to win.”
This is his third conference championship in his 14 years as head coach, and the teams first since 2012.
After the tournament the Falcons were awarded the No. 2 seed in the regional playoffs that take place this weekend.
They will play the winner of Cuesta College and Grossmont College on Friday, Nov. 11.
With a victory they will advance to the semi-finals where they expect to play Long Beach again.
If the team is able to be victorious again it will advance to the playoff finals and will be guaranteed a spot in the state championship as the top two teams from the regional playoffs advance.