Written by: Pristine Tompkin
The Riverside City College men’s water polo team hosted a mini-tournament where they defeated Grossmont, 19-9, but fell short to Long Beach, 13-9, Oct. 16.
In the opener against Long Beach City College, Riverside trailed, 3-1, after the first quarter, 6-3 at halftime and was behind, 10-6, heading into the final stanza.
The Tigers were led by freshman driver Lazar Raca, who had three goals and one assist. Followed by sophomore utility player Justin Rohn had one goal, two steals and three assists.
Freshman goalkeeper Dustin Shaw had eight saves.
Rohn thought the team found their groove against Long Beach despite the sluggish start.
“I feel that against Long Beach we were not prepared enough right from the start but we eventually got into the rhythm we needed,” Rohn said.
In the game against Grossmont, the Tigers led 6-3 after the first eight minutes, 10-5 at halftime and 15-6 after three quarters.
Once again, Raca led the Tigers in scoring with three goals, five steals and two assists.
Sophomore center Trevor Tripp added three goals and one assist, while Shaw logged four saves and freshman goalkeeper Blake Vazmendes had one save.
Men’s water polo head coach, Jason Northcott was satisfied with how the team played.
“With 24 players getting playing time and 12 different goal scorers, we were as balanced as I could expect and were constantly looking to get everyone involved,” Northcott said. “It was a good team performance.”
Tripp, however, was more critical of the team’s performance.
“In the Grossmont game, we started out playing slow and without energy,” he said. “But after the half, we got it together and finally started to pull away.”
The Tigers defeated Orange Coast College,14-7, Oct. 14 for the second time within a five day span.
The Tigers previously defeated OCC, 17-7, in the second day of the RCC tournament on Oct. 10, although the team fell short against L.A. Valley College, 19-15.
Riverside jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first quarter and went on to a 17-7 win over OCC. RCC led, 7-4, at halftime against the Pirates and 12-5 after three quarters.
Against OCC, RCC Raca had five goals, two steals and two assists, while Shaw had nine saves and three assists.
Against LAVC, the Tigers jumped out to a 7-4 lead after the first quarter and led, 10-8, at halftime.
In the second half, LAVC found their groove and led 14-12, after three quarters and pulled away to the win, outscoring RCC, 5-3, in the final eight minutes.
Freshman utility player Kyle Christian added four goals and two assists for RCC and Raca added three goals and two assists, while Shaw had seven saves.
In day one of RCC’s invitational tournament on Oct. 9, the team defeated Palomar College, 13-9, while falling short against Cerritos College, 14-12.
Riverside faced the Cerritos College Falcons who had an early two-goal lead which resulted in a 14-12 win over RCC. Later in the afternoon, the Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead halfway through the first quarter and held the Palomar College Comets to a score of 13-9.
The Tigers were led by Raca, who had four goals, one steal and an assist.
Saenz scored four goals, one steal and an assist himself for the Tigers.
Christian scored two goals, had two assists and a steal, while Shaw had eight saves.
Tripp expressed how he felt his team did in the first two games of the tournament.
“The first game we started out too slow and dug ourselves in a hole,” He said. “The second game we just weren’t working as a team.”
In the win against Palomar, Raca scored four goals, four steals and three assists. Christian added three goals and three assists while Shaw had 12 saves.
With the win against Palomar, the Tigers exceeded their wins from the previous season.
Northcott commented on the team’s overall play in the Oct. 9-10 tournament.
“At times, we are beginning to see how good we can be, but we are also seeing how a lack of composure will ultimately prevent us from reaching our goals as a team,” Northcott said.