Swafford Scores Game Winner for 10-9 Mt. SAC Men’s Water Polo Win over Cerritos College

Mt. SAC Men's Water Polo
Photo Courtesy of Polly Perez

(Walnut, CA) With a crucial late save by Mt. SAC goalie Jake Simmons and a tie-breaking goal by Justin Swafford, the Mounties secured second place in the South Coast Conference with a come-from-behind 10-9 win over host Cerritos College Wednesday afternoon.

The Mounties improved to 18-6 overall and 4-1 in conference.

"That was a really good win for the team," Mt. SAC Men's Water Polo coach Marc Ruh said. "We really showed some grit with this one."

"We jumped up early on them and held on pretty good. Then we went down late in the game and had to claw back in it with a great extra-man shot by Swafford, we were able to go up and ultimately hold on for the win."

With 1:45 remaining in the game and a 9-9 tie, the Mounties' Jarrett Barker (3 G, 3 Steals) stole the ball from the Falcons after a timeout and the Mounties called their own time out.

Attacker Noah Slack of Mt. SAC then drew a Cerritos exclusion with 1:02 left in the game. Twenty two seconds later, Swafford (1 G, 1 A, 3 Stls.) scored the go-ahead, power-play goal on a pass from driver Aidan O'ONeill (1 G, 1A, 2 Stls.).

"Ironically, the thing we spend the most time on in training (extra man) was our worst component of the game," Ruh said.

Up until the final extra-man goal the Mounties were 0-3 on the advantage. They ended up 1-4 in the game. "The (game-winner) was a bit of a broken play, but loved to see them step up and get that win." Simmons (11 Saves) ended the last threat by the Falcons in the remaining seconds with his final save of the game.

Center Noah Brokaw of the Mounties also scored three goals, along with single goal by Cristian Lopez and Vincent Vizcaino.

The Mounties took a 3-1 lead in the first period on goals by Lopez, O'Neill and Brokaw.

The Falcons (13-6, 3-1) outscored Mt. SAC in the second period, 3-2 to trail 5-4 at the half. Cerritos again scored three and Mt. SAC scored twice in the third period for a 7-7 tie setting up the dramatic finish by Mt. SAC.

Cerritos came into the game as the No. 5 team in the state from the latest CCCAA Kap7 coaches poll from this week.

Cerritos took its second lead of the game with 4:40 remaining in the period, 8-7, but Brokaw and Barker scored twice for the 9-8 lead and 4:02 remaining. Cerritos came right back with another goal 12 seconds later.

"We knew we could compete," Ruh added. "We just hadn't done it consistently in big games. It was really good to get this one."

The Mounties will take a 10-day break and end the regular season with their own mini tournament on Saturday October 27 with three games at the Marie T. Mills Aquatic Center.

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For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.