SWC finishes second to Palomar in PCAC men’s water polo final

Southwestern College’s Carlos Ibarra unleashes a penalty shot in the men’s final. Photo by Phillip Brents

The Pacific Coast Athletic Conference held its annual men’s and women’s water polo championship tournament Nov. 3-4 at Southwestern College. Six teams participated in each gender field.

Top-seeded Miramar College emerged as the women’s champion with a 13-8 win over third-seeded Grossmont College while second-seeded Palomar College defeated fourth-seeded Southwestern College, 17-10, to capture the men’s title in a match-up of bracket busters.

San Diego Mesa, which hosted the tournament, finished third in the women’s field and fourth in the men’s field. Second-seeded Mesa topped fourth-seeded Palomar College, 16-9, for third place in the women’s field while third-seeded Grossmont College earned a bit of respect with a 14-10 victory against top-seeded Mesa in the men’s third-place game.

Fifth-place games pitted Crafton Hills over Southwestern by a 10-6 score on the women’s side and Miramar over Crafton Hills, 8-7, on the men’s side.

Quarterfinal and semifinal games took place Nov. 3 while placement games took place on Nov. 4.

“The tournament was very competitive with a lot of upsets,” said Mesa College coach Beto Vasquez, a Bonita Vista High School alum. “The Miramar women were obviously the favorites but two met four in the men’s final. It came down to execution.”

Making a splash
Southwestern opened the tournament with a 19-9 victory over fifth-seeded Miramar before upending Mesa, 16-13, in the semifinals.

Mar Vista alum Trevor Rector keyed the Jaguars with five goals and two assists in the quarterfinal win over Miramar while Eastlake’s Eduardo Maldonado (five goals, one assist) and Mar Vista’s Ethan Hastings (one goal, five assists) both collected six points. Eastlake’s Riley Anderson dished up four goals and one assist.

The Jaguars swam to three five-goal leads in the first half at 7-2, 8-3 and 9-4 over Mesa. Southwestern expanded its lead to six goals at 10-4, 11-5 and 12-6 before the Olympians narrowed the score to 13-8 at the end of the third quarter and then proceeded to slice the deficit to 13-11 with 4:29 left on the clock in the fourth quarter.

A frantic finish was on.

Jaguars players celebrate their semifinal upset victory over top-seeded San Diego Mesa. Photos by Phillip Brents

The Jags received back-to-back goals from Hastings to get some breathing room at 15-11. Mesa’s Joseph Kadifa then scored to make it a 15-12 game. Maldonado made it 16-12 with 1:21 to play.

Mesa’s Jakob Bradley made it a three-goal game at 16-13 with 1:03 left with still plenty of time remaining to draw even closer. But the Jaguars managed to run out the clock with some stalwart defense.

The game ended with a pool full of Jaguars splashing about in a victorious frenzy.

“This was our best effort with a strong team in front of us,” SWC head coach Jorge Perez said. “Our guys stayed with the plan and executed successfully.”

Hastings finished the game with nine goals and two assists while Rector contributed three goals and five assists.

Southwestern College men’s water polo head coach Jorge Perez has led his team to back-to-back appearances in the PCAC men’s championship game. Photos by Phillip Brents

Southwestern hung close in the championship game before eventually coming up on the short end of a 17-10 score with nothing to be ashamed of.

The Jags cut an early 2-0 Palomar lead to 3-2 and 4-3 before tying the match, 5-5, on a penalty shot by Carlos Ibarra (Mar Vista)  to open the second quarter. The Jags tied the game twice more at 5-5 and 6-6 by halftime.

The second half was a different story as the Comets (14-17) shot out to a 9-6 lead. Hastings made the score 9-7 but Palomar pushed ahead 12-7 and led 15-8 at the end of three quarters. Comets netminder Tre Turner was nearly unstoppable in the late going.

Hastings scored four goals while Ibarra had three goals for SWC.

“Palomar went on a run in the second half and the game kind of got away from us,” Perez said.

“Considering we have five red-shirts (this year), I have expectations for next year,” Griffins men’s coach Ty Lackey said. “This has been a young recruiting class getting ready for next year. It has been difficult; we’ve played a hard schedule. We’re hoping to qualify for the state tournament next year.”

Palomar College would not be denied in this year’s PCAC men’s water polo championship game. Photos by Phillip Brents


PCAC Finals Scoreboard

Friday, Nov. 3


Women: (3) Grossmont 11, (6) Crafton Hills 7

Men: (3) Grossmont 10, (6) Crafton Hills 4

Women: (4) Palomar 15, (5) Southwestern 8

Men: (4) Southwestern 19, (5) Miramar 9


Women: (3) Grossmont 10, (2) Mesa 8

Men: (2) Palomar 13, (3) Grossmont 9

Women: (1) Miramar 17, (4) Palomar 2

Men: (4) Southwestern 16, (1) Mesa 13

Saturday, Nov. 4

Fifth-place games

Women: (6) Crafton Hills 10, (5) Southwestern 6

Men: (5) Miramar 8, (6) Crafton Hills 7

Third-place games

Women: (2) Mesa 16, (4) Palomar 9

Men: (3) Grossmont 14, (1) Mesa 10

Championships games

Women: (1) Miramar 13, (3) Grossmont 8

Men: (2) Palomar 17, (4) Southwestern 10