(WALNUT) By John M. Sherrard – Off to a great start to the season, the Mt. San Antonio College men's water polo team finished the two-day Mt. SAC tournament with a 3-1 record with two wins on Saturday at the Marie T. Mills Aquatic Center.
After losing a close game to OCC and defeating Sierra College on Friday, the Mounties came back with two wins on Saturday in the 14-team tourney.
The Mounties (9-1) downed Palomar, 15-11, then beat Ventura, 16-7, adding to their CCCAA state-leading goal total with 187.
As a result to their great start the Mounties have four players leading four of the eight categories in state statistics.
In addition, defensively Thomas Randles (Claremont HS) leads the state with 56 steals. Teammates Silverberg (39), Hans Masten (Claremont HS) with 36, Mike Meza (Chino HS) with 35, McDill (31), Nick Perez (Upland HS) with 30 and Alec Rivera (Chino Hills HS) with 28, follow Randles with the top seven in the state.
"I really think our defense is very good and crashing on the set is huge for us," Randles said.
"I had eight or nine (eight) steals in the Sierra game. Just being in the right place at the right time I guess.
"I really think our defense is the strongest part of our game."
As a team the Mounties have amassed 344 steals to lead the state.
Mt. SAC sophomore goalie Andres Jaramillo (Montclair HS) leads the state with nine wins, second with 135 saves and third with a 61.9 save pct.
In the Palomar 15-11 win, the teams were tied at the half, 5-5, but the Mounties outscored the Comets 10-6 in the second half for the win.
McDill led the Mounties with seven goals and six steals, while Silverberg had four goals, three assists and four steals. Randles and Masten each had seven steals and freshman utility man Roman Aceres (Centennial HS) had four.
In the game the Mounties defense forced numerous turnovers on their defense collapsing on the center position constantly."
"That's something that the coaches push to no end," Aceres said. "We've been working on that and they push us to the limit."
As for the two road trips Aceres added, "It's good for team chemistry and we're pumped to travel to the tournaments, especially back East. We've had so much hype about it and our coach (Head coach Marc Ruh) is very excited about it."
The 16-7 win over Ventura was a different story. After a 10-6 halftime lead, the Mounties defense shut down the Pirates 6-1 for the 16-7 win.
In the win, nine players found the back of the net, led by McDill with four and Silverberg with three.
Meza and Masten had five steals each on the defensive side.
Other scores from Saturday: Chaffey 16, Fullerton 9; Santa Monica 16, Santa Ana 5; Palomar 14, Ventura 11; Chaffey 20, Santa Ana 7; Fullerton 11, Santa Monica 10.
The Mounties now take a two-week break before traveling north to Sacramento for a two-day tournament at American River College.
In early October they will travel to Erie Pennsylvania for an Eastern four-day trip.