Men’s water polo stays competitive

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By Tim Cornell / Staff Writer

By Tim Cornell / Staff Writer

The Riverside City College Men’s water polo team added one win and three losses to their current season record. The team opened the tournament with a loss against the West Valley Vikings 12-8.

The Tigers defeated the Ventura Pirates to spoil their season opener 10-5. Playing their third game in two days, the team lost to the Diablo Valley Vikings 12-6. The Tigers lost to the Vikings in both of the teams’ two meetings last season.

The Tigers ended the tournament against the home team the Cuesta Cougars. The final score was 14-12. In three meetings last season, the Vikings won all three. The first two games were in tournaments, while the third game was the last game of the season.

After this tournament it gives the Tigers a 3-4 record and a 1-0 conference record on the season. At this point last season, the Tigers held a 2-5 record, with a 1-0 conference record.

Last season, the team lost their first 4 games of the season. They won the next two games including the conference opener against Saddleback College Gauchos with a final score of 20-9.

The Tigers next game will be the team’s second conference game of the season. The game will be against the Orange Coast Pirates. Last season, the Tigers defeated the Pirates twice in conference play.

The Tigers defeated the Santa Ana College Dons 18-9 on Sept. 12. This victory gives the RCC Tigers a record of 2-1 on the season. It was also their opener for the Orange Empire conference.

Overall, the Tigers had a 3-1 record in conference play. This put they second in the conference with nine conference points. They were behind Golden West who had 15 conference points and a perfect 5-0 record in conference play.

The Tigers swept the Dons last season winning both games where the teams faced each other. The first game the Tigers won with a final score of 20-5.

The second meeting of the season for the two teams was at the Orange Empire conference tournament. RCC also won this game with a score of 20-8.

The Tigers started the regular season Sept. 7 at the Golden West Tournament in Huntington Beach, CA with a double header.

The team dropped their first game against the home team, the Golden West Rustlers with a score of 18-10. The Tigers bounced back in their second game of the day against Los Angeles Valley Monarchs with a final score of 15-12.

In the Tigers’ first game of the season against the Rustlers, utility Sean Evans led the Tigers’ with four goals. Evans is one of the five sophomores on the team this season.

Goalie Nicho Morabito, a freshman, recorded seven saves for the Tigers. Golden West jumped to an early 8-3 lead after the first quarter and never gave up any ground to RCC.

Golden West’s defense clamped down in the fourth quarter holding RCC to only one goal.

“We always want to beat Golden West but did not fret about the loss too much,” Hass said.

Last season, Golden West won both games against the Tigers, including one game in the OEC tournament. Center forward Christopher Forte scored four goals for the Tigers in the team’s second game of the day against LA Valley.

Forte is a first year player, who really surprised the coaches. Assistant Coach Jason Northcott said, “We were not really sure what to expect from he, but he came out and was tied for the leading scorer on the weekend with six goals.”

Sophomore Matt Hass also provided two goals and four assists in the tournament.

Hass said of last season that the team “gave up too many goals. We scored a lot but we struggled defensively. This year I think we will be much better on that end of the pool.”

Driver James Myers led the Tigers with three steals. The Tigers recorded 10 assists in the game against LA Valley. Morabito recorded 13 saves against LA Valley. The Tigers finished the game off on a really strong note. Putting up five goals in the fourth quarter.

Hass said of the second game, “We came out against LA Valley with just as much if not more intensity and it worked for us.”

Northcott said, “(LA Valley is) a team that was ahead of us all last year, so it was a big win for us.”
LA Valley defeated RCC in both of the teams meetings last season. The Monarchs won the first meeting between the two teams last year 14-12. In the second meeting of the season, the Monarchs won 14-5.

The team, coached by Nate Hass, looks to improve on the teams 11-18 record from last season, starting the season with a team that finished 28-2 last season.

LA Valley ended with a 16-12 record last season. Ending the tournament with a win against them provided the RCC coaches and players with some optimism. Northcott noted “We got a plus three which is big for our seeding for regional’s later in the year.”

Northcott is happy with the team’s chemistry. “This is not our most talented team, but this team right here has shown a lot of character, a lot of discipline.”

The Tigers next home game of the season will be on Oct. 5-6 for the RCC Tournament at the RCC Aquatic Complex.

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