After a fantastic season in and out of the conference, the Cerritos men’s water polo team fell short in the SoCal Regional Playoffs by one goal to what head coach Joe Abing described as “a very good Cuesta team”.
The Falcons attended the playoffs hosted at Golden West College Friday after being awarded the second seed.
The match against Cuesta was a rematch of the Golden West Tournament finals where Cerritos was victorious.
Cerritos fell early and was down by as many as four points, although it did claw back into the game, their comeback effort was too little too late as Cuesta was able to win by a score of 12-11 effectively ending the Falcons’ season.
“Anytime the season comes to an end and you were hoping to go further it can be pretty difficult,” Abing said.
After the game coach described the mood as “very somber.”
Even though the season was cut short Abing was very proud and happy for his team.
“I still feel like we had a very successful season,” he said. “One game does not define a season.”
Although the season ended before the team could reach their goal of a state championship, Cerritos was still able to capture its first conference championship since 2012 after beating rival Long Beach City College in the conference finals.
Driver Angel Rojas was able to finish third in goals in the entire state, while his brother Jesus and him were able to hold the top two spots in assists.
Jesus said, “It has been a pleasure to play with [Angel] […] We play on the Venezuelan National Team together
The freshman goalie tandem of Matthew Contreras and Jason Curiel were able to accumulate over 100 saves each and combine for over 300.
Albeit the early exit, Abing was adamant in how proud he was of his team and their season.
“It goes beyond winning and losing. Winning the conference felt really good, but at the end of the day its the experience I had with the guys on the team,” he said.
Abing has a strong sense of pride for his teams chemistry and their bonding throughout the season.
“I’m proud that we became a team, that we supported one another,” he said.
He also recalled a moment the team had when they met after their last game where he felt extremely proud of his team.
“When we met as a team after the game a lot of guys spoke up and talked about how appreciative they were of each other and thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of the team and that it meant a lot to them.”