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Southwestern polo men, women prepare for JC championships Phillip Brents | Fri, Nov 01 2013 12:56 PM

Southwestern College's men's and women's water polo teams will be looking to end the season on a winning note in the upcoming Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship tournament Nov. 8-9 at Miramar College.

Five teams are entered in the event. The fourth- and fifth-place finisher will play off, with the winner advancing to the semifinals. The two semifinal winners will advance to the championship game while the two semifinal losers will meet in the third-place game.

The tournament champions then advance to the Southern California regional tournament.

Southwestern defeated San Diego Mesa to finish third in last year's men's conference championship tournament.

The Jaguars have secured a fourth-place finish in the men's PCAC standings and will meet fifth place Miramar in the semifinal play-in match; the SWC women are battling for third place and a bye to the semifinals.

Southwestern swept Miramar in double-header action on Oct. 9, with the Jaguars winning the men's game by a score of 14-12 and the SWC women's team pulling out a 14-13 victory.

The Jaguars closed out regular season conference play with a double-header loss to the visiting Grossmont Griffins on Oct. 23. The Griffins won the women's game by a score of 18-7 while the men's game was closer, with SWC falling by a score of 15-8.

Former Bonita Vista standout Lauren Broyles led the Jaguar women with four goals, one assist and three steals in the setback to Grossmont while Irene Ramos (Hilltop) finished the game with three goals. Mariela Rodriguez (Otay Ranch) matched Broyles with a team-leading four steals.

Broyles scored six goals in the win over Miramar while Rodriguez contributed three goals, four assists and six steals.

On the season, Ramos tops Southwestern with 57 goals and 16 assists to go with 19 steals while Broyles has accumulated 50 goals, 21 assists and 28 steals.

Gisel Chavez-Vega (Lutheran) and Rodriguez are in a battle for the team's steals lead with 89 and 88, respectively. BVHS grad Sofia Fialko leads the Lady Jags with 38 assists while Crystal Corona (Hilltop) has collected 104 goalie blocks,

The Southwestern women improved to 10-13 overall after defeating Rio Hondo (14-9) and Citrus (6-3) in last weekend's Long Beach tournament.

The Lady Jags take a 3-5 conference record into the upcoming PCAC championship tournament while the SWC men's team finished conference play with a 2-6 record.

Grossmont remains the favorite to win both the men's and women's playoff titles. The Lady Griffins are ranked fourth in the state; the Grossmont men are ranked eighth.

Wet shots
At 4-16 overall, it's obviously been a disappointing season for Southwestern men's team that, ironically, had ended last season on a high note and was looking for renewed success this season.

"I think if everyone who was eligible to come back came back, and with the recruits we had coming in from the local South Bay high school teams, that we could have made a run at the championship this year," SWC coach Jorge Ortega said. "But we only had three returners come back. It wasn't that they transferred to other JCs; other things happened in their lives to make playing water polo less important. I thought we had some genuine momentum coming into this year, but it just didn't work out that way for us."

The Jags can still play the upset card in the upcoming PCAC championship tournament and Ortega feels if his team plays its best game at full strength that anything is possible.

"Don't count us out completely," he said optimistically.

Hilltop High grad Nick Howard has been the team's impact player among new recruits and expects to play with the Jaguars next year as well. Howard tops the SWC leader board with 59 goals, 29 assists and 75 steals.

Mar Vista alum Justin Patacsil ranks first on the team with 70 goals while also contributing 10 assists and 30 steals.

Hilltop grad Stuart Sokil, a sophomore like Patacsil, has accumulated 21 goals, 18 assists and 59 steals this season. Fellow Lancer alum Leonardo Perez has 13 goals, 21 assists and 36 steals to his credit.

Meanwhile, Eastlake alum Rhett Pitcock has amassed 245 goalie saves.

Howard totaled four goals, three assists and two steals in the recent win over Miramar while Eddie Alvarez chipped in with three goals, one assist and three steals.

Howard had three goals, one assist and four steals in the loss to Grossmont while Patacsil contributed three goals and two steals.

The Griffins led by a narrow 7-5 score at halftime before pulling away in the third quarter.

The Jags finished 0-2 with losses to Santa Monica (16-10) and Fullerton (13-7) in last weekend's Santa Monica mini-tournament; SWC will close out the season with tat this weekend's Saddleback tournaments prior to competing in the PCAC championships.

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