Tue, Sep 27 2011 02:35 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Southwestern College men’s water polo team finished an inglorious 1-24 last season, with the lone victory coming in the final game of the season.
Head coach Jorge Ortega feels the talent assembled on this year’s team will preclude such lopsided win-loss record from happening. The Jaguars’ 19-16 Pacific Coast Conference setback to San Diego Mesa on Sept. 7 is proof of that, he said.
“We have some high expectations for this team,” Ortega said. “We’d like to finish among the top three teams in our league. Our league has five teams. There is a lot of optimism. I’m excited about the season.”
The SWC is stocked full of local talent, led by freshman Ian Muhlbach, who earned honors as the Mesa League Player of the Year last fall while leading Eastlake to its first-ever San Diego Section playoff victory.
Joining Muhlbach are former Titan standouts Justin Kruse and Gabe De Maria y Campos, Hilltop grads Leo Perez, Sergio Carreon and Ryan Wertz, Bonita Vista alum Luis Pimentel, Mar Vista’s Victor Bautista, Chula Vista’s Manny Gambino, Montgomery goalie Alex Castaneda and Mt. Miguel goalie Tony Weidinger.
Muhlbach led the Jags with seven goals, including two man-up tallies, in the loss to Mesa. Pimentel had three goals, including two power-play goals, while De Maria y Campos and Kruse also scored three times each.
Muhlbach and Kruse each had two steals in the game while Castaneda was credited with six saves.
Mesa scored five counter-attack goals while Southwestern totaled three. In six-on-five match-ups, Mesa scored on two of its four chances while the Jags scored five times on 12 opportunities.
SWC out-scored Mesa 6-2 in the final quarter. “I thought we were going to come back all the way, but we just fell short,” Ortega said.
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