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Photo by Cara Heise.
Photo by Cara Heise.

Comets claim championship title; onto regionals

CHULA VISTA, CA (11/4/2023) -- Palomar College Men's Water Polo has been on a steady rebuild since the COVID-19 Pandemic and the hard work paid off on Saturday evening when they claimed the 2023 PCAC Men's Water Polo Championship title after defeating Southwestern College 17-10 in the finals. 

A true team this year, eight different Comets got in on the goal-scoring on Saturday. Sophomores TJ Turner and Cody Lovgren, as well as freshman Phoenix Schultz each had three goals. Freshmen Ian Ritchie and Caleb Hogle, along with sophomore Arleigh Williams finished with two. Sophomores Alex Alvarez and Emmanuel De La Torre rounded out the scoring with one goal each. Sophomore goalie Tre Turner recorded 17 saves on 26 shots in four quarters while freshman Mitchell Peyton had two saves on three shots. 

The Comets and Jaguars were locked in a first-half battle heading into halftime tied at six. The Comets then let loose and outscored the Jags 9-2 in the third quarter to give them the edge in the fourth. 

Palomar, who was the No. 2 seed in the tournament, had a first-round bye and faced No. 3 Grossmont College in the semifinals. The Comets won 13-9 on Friday night for a spot in the championship. Palomar started quick, scoring seven goals in the first quarter and tacking on three more in the second to take a 10-3 halftime lead. The Griffins shutout the Comets in the third quarter and then outscored them 4-3 in the fourth to make the final score 13-9. TJ Turner led all Comets with four goals, while Alvarez finished with three. Schultz, Williams and Del La Torre each ahd two. Goalie Tre Turner had seven saves on 16 shots.

This was the first conference championship for head coach Mike Mulvey and the first for the program since 2017. With the win, the Comets advance to the 3C2A SoCal Regionals at Citrus College on Thursday. The men have been seeded No. 8 and will face No. 9 LA Valley College in the opening game at 9 a.m. Full tournament details can be found here.