ECC men’s water polo team clinches first playoff berth in 26 years


El Camino College men’s water polo attacker Adian Morvice attempts to block Rio Hondo College attacker Jacob Ayala in front of the goal post during their game on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the ECC pool. The Warriors clinched their first playoff berth since 1993. Jaime Solis/ The Union

The El Camino College men’s water polo team clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 1993 after finishing fourth in the South Coast Conference Championships tournament.

“[This year has] been awesome,” Warriors’ coach and former ECC water polo alumni Noah Rubke said. “[We won] all the games that were against Southern California teams that I thought were winnable.”

The Warriors (20-10, 3-5 in conference) will be the No. 10 seed in California Community Colleges Athletic Association Southern California Regional playoffs as they play No. 7 Orange Coast College (16-6, 5-1 in conference) on Thursday, Nov. 14m at Riverside City College, time TBA.

The Warriors lost both games against OCC this season 18-7 and 15-7. ECC was without sophomore Nate Griffith for the second game as he was out due to concussion protocol.

“We’ve played this team [OCC] twice this season already and we’ve improved from the first game to the second game,” Rubke said. “Having everyone available and I think learning from our previous two games will actually give us confidence.”

ECC freshman Cole Allyn led the team with 98 goals this season. Griffith was second on the team in goals (85) and assists (57). Griffith also led the team in steals this season with a total of 82.