WHITTIER, Calif. — The East Los Angeles College water polo team lost 8-5 in the sixth-place South Coast Conference dual meet game to Rio Hondo College in the regular season finale.
ELAC placed seventh in SCC dual meet competition, one game ahead of Pasadena City College. Long Beach won the dual meet title with an undefeated record in conference play.
In a game of two freshman-laden teams at Rio Hondo, the Huskies won the opening swim-off and made good of it with a goal forty-three seconds ino the game. The stunned Rio Hondo crowd was quiet if not shocked. The Huskies used a combination of dry passes and patience to set up the goal scored by freshman Vicky Zia-Lopez (Mark Keppel High School) who jammed the ball into the net untouched.
Rio Hondo, however, responded with a goal 14 seconds later taking advantage of the Huskies not getting set on defense. The clean shot was by freshman center forward Madison Garcia. Rio Hondo freshman utility player Tatyanna Torres added a goal with 3:14 left in the first period. Rio Hondo led 2-1.
The Roadrunners scored two unanswered goals in the second period, the former by Garcia. Freshman center Jessica Lopez blasted a shot past the ELAC goalie with 0:32 seconds remaining in the period. Rio Hondo led 4-1 entering the third.
ELAC rallied outscoring Rio Hondo 3-2 in the third period. The Huskies' goals were from freshman Julia Benitez in the first minute of play (7:07) followed with two goals by freshman Angelica Cruz at the 4:42 mark and 37 seconds later. ELAC trailed 6-4 heading into the final period.
Cruz scored again with 7:07 left in the game and ELAC pulled within one, down 6-5. The intense match in front of a loud crowd ended with Rio Hondo scoring two goals in the final 2-1/2 minutes. Rio Hondo took 23 shots and had nine steals.
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story submitted by Tadzio Garcia