The Saddleback men's water polo team advanced to the California Community College Athletic Association Southern California Regional Semifinals with a 14-10 win over Cerritos College on Friday in Chula Vista. The Bobcats rallied from a first half deficit and will play Grossmont College on Saturday for a spot in the state tournament.
Saddleback trailed 5-3 midway through the second quarter before making their move. The Bobcats finished with a 3-0 run to end the half as Dylan Gallegos, Andrew Barnuevo and Spencer Sellwood connected to get the team up 6-5 at the break.
The two squads traded goals in the third quarter as Saddleback carried a 9-8 lead into the final eight minutes of play. The Bobcats again made a run, scoring five of the next six goals in taking a commanding 14-9 lead. Barnuevo was again in the mix, scoring twice in the final quarter to finish with a team-high five goals for the game. Cerritos added a late goal in the final minute for a final score of 14-10.
Saddleback now plays Grossmont College on Saturday at 9:45 AM in the regional semifinals. A win would put Saddleback into the regional finals, but perhaps more importantly give the Bobcats a berth in the state tournament for the first time since 1998.
A win by Saddleback on Saturday would mark just the third appearance in the state tournament in the 48-year history of the program.