Cabrillo Lakewood Water Polo

Water Polo: Cabrillo Wins Nailbiter Against Lakewood

A few minutes into the opening game of the Moore League Water Polo Showcase, it looked like the host Cabrillo boys’ team was headed for a comfortable win over Lakewood. But the Jaguars offense stalled and Lakewood marched back, forcing Cabrillo goalie Nathan Lucindo to save the day with some last-second heroics in a narrow 4-3 Jags win.

“This is a really important game,” said Cabrillo coach Christopher Ortiz. “All of Long Beach is watching at the Moore League Showcase.”

Jose Mejia scored a pair of goals for the Jaguars in the first quarter, as they quickly built a 4-0 lead. But that was the end of things for the Jaguars, who struggled with entry passes and turnovers for the rest of the game as Lakewood clamped down. The Lancers came marching back, scoring once in the second and third quarter and then coming within a goal on a score by Isaac Alvarez with 1:42 left.

With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Lakewood had one last shot at it, and called timeout to draw up a trick play. The Lancers ran the “submarine,” with one player going underwater and holding his breath while the rest of the team swam away from him. Then the player popped back up above water and they passed the ball to him, giving him a clean look at goal with five seconds left. He got a hard shot that was on target, but Cabrillo’s goalie Lucindo got up for it and knocked it away, sealing the win.

“This was important,” said Lucindo. “Last year we were the last team from Long Beach standing in the playoffs, and we’ve got to represent.”

Lucindo had 12 saves in the game for Cabrillo. The Jaguars (10-4) will host Wilson on Oct. 9 while Lakewood host Millikan.

VIDEO: Cabrillo vs. Lakewood Water Polo

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.