By Jair Ramirez
Last second heroics by sophomore attacker Louis Grandi led Riverside City College men’s water polo team to victory.
With seven seconds left in the match in the final game of the Riverside Tournament, Grandi bounced the ball past Cerritos College Falcons goalie to score the deciding goal in the 12-11 RCC victory.
“It was a game winning goal but a team win,” said Grandi. “The win was the best, not my goal.”
It was a hard fought back and forth game against Cerritos until the closing minutes of the third quarter when RCC took the lead.
Goalie Seth Zarn made a key block on a penalty shot in the closing moments of the third quarter and took an 11-8 lead going into the fourth quarter.
“It felt great, it felt like I finally did something,” Zarn said about blocking the penalty shot.
The Falcons physical style of play got them back into the game early in the fourth quarter.
Once Cerritos tied the game at 11 RCC buckled down on defense and pulled off the victory.
Zarn made many important saves to give RCC back the momentum of the game.
The Tigers fourth quarter meltdowns had been haunting them throughout the whole season, but they stepped it up and closed out games in the tournament to take three out of the four matches played.
“We needed to have a good tournament,” men’s water polo head coach Jason Northcott said. “We had a long stretch of playing four year schools or highly ranked community college teams and we’ve been coming out on the wrong end of it. We got three good wins in the tournament.”
“I think there’s a lot of teams we got close with,” Zarn said. “That we were just neck and neck until the fourth quarter.”
RCC out muscled Palomar College and looked like they were on their way to an easy win in the first game of the tournament.
The Comets made it close in the fourth quarter and were within one point of tying the game. The Tigers took control of the match and went on a 4-1scoring run to close out the game beating Palomar 18-14.
Long Beach City College’s speed in the pool was too much for RCC to handle in the second match. RCC ended up losing the match by four points.
The Tigers bounced back against Grossmont College on the second day of the tournament and took a commanding five to nothing lead to begin the game and never looked back. Defense was key against Grossmont and shut them out in the final quarter winning 12-8.
“Our conditioning propelled us to have a good weekend,” Northcott said. “But we need to work on our composure, learn how to control momentum.”
The Tigers feel like this tournament can be a turning point in the season and are thinking positively going forward.
“We have a result that shows that we are in the top ten in the state,” Northcott said. “We have a result that shows we belong in that area and that we can compete against the top five and we can win.”
Grandi led the way offensively and finished the tournament with 14 goals and five assists.
“I am proud of my team in this tournament, we improved a lot,” he said.
The Tigers will take a 7-14 record to the Long Beach Mini Tournament beginning Oct. 14.