Joshua Mourer successfully throws the ball in the perfect spot to pass by the blocker as well as the goalie and scores another goal. (Ally Beckwitt/Lariat)
The Saddleback College men’s water polo team kicked off their two day home tournament with a bang, defeating Santa Monica College 20-6 on Friday Oct. 27 . This tournament was the last event before the Gaucho’s head off to the Orange Empire Conference Championships next weekend at Cypress College.
Even though the team already had a seat in the OEC championships before the tournament it was very important to do well in order to help better their chances of making the Southern California Tournament after championships.
“This was a good game for us to snap our four game losing streak,” head coach Jason Lynch said. “That was good to get back on the win.”
One of the biggest advantages that Saddleback had over their opponent was their ability to outswim them throughout the entire game. The Gaucho’s were able to keep up their stamina and strength continuously during the game.
“Everyone put in a good effort today and swam the whole time really well,” Saddleback’s goalie, Jeff Rebrukh said. “Like you saw in the fourth quarter we were up a whole bunch and that just shows how hard we swim every practice and how much it pays off.”
Driver, Max Gonter, sets up to make another goal. (Ally Beckwitt/Lariat)
One of Saddleback’s drivers, Max Gonter, was the highest scoring player in the game against Santa Monica and continued to be a big contributor in next three games later on. Gonter started off with scoring six of the goals against Santa Monica, five against Grossmont, seven on El Camino and then finished up by landing the final shot against Palomar.
Another key player, Joshua Mourer, helped tremendously throughout the tournament with scoring goals. Even though he scored three goals in the first game, Mourer said he felt like he played poorly against Santa Monica missing some easy shots and giving away a few possessions.
He planned on improving for the rest of the tournament by slowing down his ball handling skills and calling out the plays more controlled instead of chaotic. Mourer’s plan for betterment worked in favor for himself and for his team, he helped score 11 more goals throughout the rest of the tournament.
After the first game coach Lynch felt as if the men weren’t playing as well as they could be and shared his hopes for what he wanted to see in following games of the tournament.
“Just ball handling for one thing,” Lynch said. “They’re also just dropping too many balls and the drive defense could be better but there were definitely some players that were playing well out there for us.”
Even though the games were predicted by coach Lynch to increase in difficulty as they progressed throughout the tournament, Saddleback kept playing strong and won the remaining three games, winning against Grossmont, El Camino and Palomar as well.
Beating Grossmont, which is the first place team from San Diego, helps show that Saddleback deserves to get into the tournament after championships. There are a total of 10 teams from Southern California that play coming out of four conferences. The four winning teams automatically are placed and then from there it depends on records against other teams to decide who goes.
Next weekend Saddleback heads off to Cypress College to play in the OEC championships on Thursday Nov 2. and then Saturday Nov. 4. They are placed third which means they will play the last place team, Santa Ana, and then a rematch against OCC.