Men’s Water Polo Reaches Third Place Bout, Splits on Day One

Photo by Bobby R. Hester
Photo by Bobby R. Hester

The Riverside City College men's water polo team entered the Orange Empire Conference (OEC) Championships as the fourth overall seed on Thursday morning after placing fourth in conference play. They got off to a strong start with a commanding win over Cypress, but fell victim to one of the strongest state competitors in Golden West.

The Tigers had an opportunity to play for a conference title if they were able to take down the top-seeded GWC Rusters in the semifinals. However, a 20-7 loss put them out of reach for the top-two positions, but still a chance to land on the podium at tournament's end.

With the split, the Tigers will face off against the Orange Coast College Pirates in the third-place game this Saturday. The Pirates got the best of the Tigers in their lone meeting of the year by the final score of 14-6, but Riverside will look to even things up. 

Riverside got off to a sluggish start in the tournament as they faced a 4-3 deficit after the opening half against Cypress. However, the Tigers outscored the Chargers 11-3 in the second half leading to a 14-7 win.

Freshman tandem Louis Grandi and Tommy Dempsey handled the bulk of the offense as they each netted four goals, while Grandi dished out one assist.

Freshman Relja Mitic found the back of the net twice, while freshman Jared Sala hummed home one goal and recoded two assists.

Freshman goalkeeper Pavle Ristic hauled in 10 saves leading to his sixth win of the season.

The second contest of the tournament did not roll the Tiger's way as they lost 20-7.

Freshman John Mahon, Grandi and Mitic each scored two goals, while freshman Sebastian De La Pena-Kenley recorded the seventh score.