Grossmont College men’s water polo team facing rebuilding year in 2015

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It’s a position the Grossmont College men’s water polo team isn’t accustomed to being in: looking up at their rivals from near the bottom of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference standings.

But that’s just the scenario the Griffins found themselves in when visiting Southwestern College Oct. 7 for a key PCAC contest. Grossmont carried a 1-3 conference record into the match against the 2-2 Jaguars.

It’s a position the Grossmont College men’s water polo team isn’t accustomed to being in: looking up at their rivals from near the bottom of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference standings.

But that’s just the scenario the Griffins found themselves in when visiting Southwestern College Oct. 7 for a key PCAC contest. Grossmont carried a 1-3 conference record into the match against the 2-2 Jaguars.

Southwestern had defeated the Griffins, 16-12, in a first-round PCAC regular season contest on Sept. 9 to end a losing streak against the East County school that had reached more than 30 games.

Grossmont defeated the Jaguars, 14-12, on Oct. 7 to get back on the winning side of the teams’ rivalry and improve its seeding prospects for November’s PCAC championship playoff tournament.

“Southwestern has really turned its program around the last couple years; they’re a quality opponent and a legitimate contender in the conference now,” Griffin head coach Ty Lackey explained.

Grossmont raised its conference record to 2-3, 5-7 overall, following the win over the Jags (2-3 in conference, 7-6 overall). Lackey is hoping his team will finish the second half of conference play strong and “make some noise,” as he put it, in the upcoming conference championship tournament.

The PCAC finals are scheduled Nov. 6-7 at Miramar College.

San Diego Mesa and Palomar entered the week tied atop the PCAC standings with 5-1 records, followed by Southwestern, Grossmont and Miramar (0-6, 6-9).

Lackey said his team is obviously facing a rebuilding season in 2015.

“All but one are first-year players,” he explained. “It’s been almost like having a brand new team when there’s only 10 on the roster. We basically have an all-freshman team this year.”

Standouts on this year’s Grossmont College team include Granite Hills High School graduate Jake Casey and Santana High School alumnus Nick Royer. Casey earned honors in 2014 as a first-team all-Grossmont Hills League selection in helping lead the Eagles to a berth in last year’s Division I San Diego Section championship playoffs. 

Casey led the Griffins with five goals in the Oct. 7 game against Southwestern while Royer scored three goals.

There are still more than a half dozen games left in the regular season, so Lackey said his team still has some positive goals to accomplish.

“It all comes down to the conference championship tournament,” Lackey said. “If you can put together three wins or so, you can go on to the Southern California regional playoffs.”

And then there’s next season. With a large group of sophomores next year, plus a pair of high profile redshirt players this season, the 2016 Griffins may yet return to their familiar perch: looking down on the rest of their conference rivals in the PCAC standings.

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