Huntington Beach & Glendora, CA -- The Citrus College Men's Water Polo program opened up their 2015 season on Friday afternoon and didn't make it easy on themselves. The Owls played four games in the span of 10 hours and came away with a 3-1 record with their only setback coming to defending State Champs Golden West College.
The day started off early in that ill fated tilt with the crown wearing Rattlers. The Owls fell into an early 4-1 hole to Golden West after the first quarter, but match the Rattlers goal for goal over the next two periods to go into the fourth down 7-10. The Owls ran out of gas in the final eight minutes, giving up three more goals, while being held scoreless as they dropped the opener 13-7. In the loss, freshman Daniel Velasquez scored three goals for the Owls, while sophomore Robert Renteria added a pair.
An hour later, Citrus took on perennial playoff contender Cerritos College, and the game would be a classic. The two schools were tied at the end of each of the first and second quarters at four and seven respectively. Citrus put some distance between themselves oand the Falcons in the third, going up 13-9, but Cerritos answered back in the fourth to send the game to overtime. Each team would score a pair of goals in the first and second overtimes, before the Owls finally scored a golden goal to end the game in the third and final extra frame, 20-19.
Velasquez added five more goals to his resume in the wins, while sophomore Jonathan Lotero dropped in five of his own. Sophomore Mark Cordts handed out three assists, while Velasquez had a team high four steals and sophomore goalie Brad Thomson seven blocks.
After finishing up at Golden West, Citrus headed back home to play a pair of contests in their annual home hosted tournament. Citrus drew four-year Cal Tech in the opening game, and got all they could handle from the Beavers after opening a 6-1 lead in the first quarter. Cal Tech would pull; to within five late, but the Owls outscored Cal tech 7-4 in the last quarter on their way to an 18-10 win.
In the last game of the day, Citrus came out swinging against a solid Mt. San Antonio College team. In the first quarter, the Owls jumped out to a 6-2 lead only to extend it to 11-3 at the break. The two teams matched each other goal for goal in the third, with the Owls still leading by eight 14-6. In the final quarter, the Mounties outscored Citrus 3-2, but by then it was too little, too late, as Citrus won 16-9.
Lotero once again paced the offensive effort of the Owls with six goals, while Velasquez added four. Sophomore Brandt Restad handed out four assists, and Velasquez came up with four more steals. Rounding out the superlatives was Thomson who stopped a day high 10 shots by the Mounties including a 5M penalty shot.
With the three wins and a loss, Citrus moves to 3-1 on the year. The Owls will be back in the water again late tomorrow morning when they square off against Ventura College at 11:30 AM. Their final match-up of the weekend will be decided based on the outcome of the contest with the Pirates.