Two of the most prominent programs in men's water polo history – Golden West and West Valley – dispatched their semifinal foes Friday and will battle it out in the CCCAA Men's Water Polo State Championship Saturday at Las Positas College. The Rustlers will be looking for their fifth-straight and 30 th overall title, while the Vikings have their eyes focused on a ninth state championship. The Rustlers and the Vikings will meet for the title at 12:30pm, with Diablo Valley and Saddleback meeting in the third-place game at 9:30am.
The Rustlers and the Vikings started relatively slowly in Friday's semifinals before pulling away in the middle two quarters.
#1S Golden West over #2N Diablo Valley 21-5
The Rustlers (27-2) held a narrow 3-2 lead after one against the Vikings (17-4), but outscored DVC 6-1 in the second quarter behind a pair of goals from Augi Macchi and one each from Konstantinos Koulouris, Itamar Kolodny, Barnabas Vidovics and Eamon Hennessey. The 9-3 advantage grew to 14-4 heading into the final quarter thanks to goals from five different Rustlers, including two from Koulouris. Koulouris added two more in a 5-1 Golden West fourth to finish out the 21-5 victory.
Ten different Rustlers scored, led by six from Koulouris and two each from Hennessey, Kolodny, Macci, and John McDonald. Ethan Braga led all DVC scorers with three tallies.
#1N West Valley over #2S Saddleback 12-9
The Vikings (17-4) drew first blood with an Ante Buzov goal two minutes in, but back-to-back goals from Dylan Gallegos and Alec Abrahamian gave the Bobcats (27-8) a 2-1 lead. Buzov evened it at 2-2 with another goal and Mario Almarza scored to give WVC a 3-2 lead after one. The teams traded goals in the second quarter until a pair of Buzov scores gave the Vikings a 6-4 halftime advantage. Buzov gave WVC an 8-5 lead midway through the third quarter before leaving with his third exclusion. A Gojko Kapovic goal just before the buzzer boosted WVC to an 11-7 lead after three. Kapovic made it 12-7 with a goal on WVC's first possession of the fourth, but Alec Isaacman scored with five minutes left to pull Saddelback to within 12-8 with lots of time left. Saddleback's Andrew Barnuevo scored the game's final goal with 1:49 remaining for the 12-9 final.
Buzov paced the Vikings with five goals, followed by Almarza with three and two from Kapovic. The Bobcats got two goals apiece from Isaacman, Barnuevo and Spencer Sellwood.