WATER POLO – Monarchs wash away Santa Ana and Cerritos at Valley tournament.
By Kevin Buckles Jr., Sports Editor
Under the Saturday morning sun, the Valley College Men’s Water Polo team caught a wave in their two games of the Valley Tournament. They glided past the Santa Ana College Dons by a 15-4 count and torpedoed the Cerritos College Falcons, 25-7, to extend their winning streak to seven games and improve their record to 10-3.
Valley opened the floodgates early in each contest, submerging both opponents under double-digit deficits at halftime.
The Monarchs overwhelmed the Dons and Falcons by a combined 40-11; the 40 goals were the most the Monarchs have scored over a two-game span this season.
“We like to start and keep the pressure on them the whole game,” said Head Coach Jim McMillan. “If we can start and set the tone right away, that’s always good.”
In the first game against Santa Ana, the Monarchs not only jumped to a 7-1 lead after the first quarter, but were dominant defensively as well. The Dons were constantly pressured into turnovers, and were never able to establish any rhythm.
Valley closed out the Dons by a final score of 15-4, the ninth time this season they held their opponent under 10 goals.
Despite the team averaging an impressive 17 goals per game, freshman striker Nate Fernandez said the primary focus is always to prevent the opposing team from scoring.
“One of our main goals is not to focus on how many we score, but how many they score,” said Fernandez, who led the team with seven goals vs. Santa Ana. “We always want to hold them to at least under six or under seven.”
Teammate Giorgi Kartvelishvilli agreed:
“Every game starts with defense … we practice 60 percent defense and 40 percent offense so that we’ll be ready.”
The Monarchs kept the pressure on in the second game of the back-to-back vs. Cerritos, again jumping out to a double-digit lead by halftime, this time 14-4. They swamped the Falcons by a 25-7 final, Valley’s highest point total of the season so far.
“We’re 10-3 on the season now, and we’re off to a pretty good start,” said McMillan, “but we haven’t achieved our goal yet.”
Freshman field player Arman Momdzhyan said that goal is to be conference champions at season’s end.
“We’re not aiming low, we want to go all the way,” said Momdzhyan. “No one has won the the conference in [Valley’s] history. That’s definitely the goal, winning conference.”
The Monarchs will look to continue on that trek Oct. 15 at the Cal Lutheran Tourney where they will play games at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. before they return home Oct. 17 to face the Mount San Antonio College Mounties at 12 p.m.