LIVERMORE - The juggernaut that is the Golden West men’s water polo team captured its fifth-straight CCCAA state championship with a wire-to-wire 12-10 win over the up-to-the-task West Valley Vikings Saturday at Las Positas College. The championship is the 30th overall in the storied history of the Rustlers, by far the most championships of any program in any CCCAA sport.
Saddleback outscored Diablo Valley 21-15 in the third-place game earlier in the morning.
CHAMPIONSHIP - 1S Golden West Over #1N West Valley 12-10
A 6-3 first-quarter lead got Golden West (28-2) started on the right foot. Three goals from GWC leading scorer Felipe Ferreira and single goals from Barnabas Vidovics, Reilly Pfeiffer and Breno Tenet countered a pair of WVC scores by Ante Buzov and one from Carlos Zayola. West Valley (17-4) closed to within 6-4 at 5:25 in the second on a Hamish Bonnar goal, but Vidovics made it 7-4 at intermission with a goal at 1:49.
West Valley crawled their way back in the third, thanks to two goals from Nikola Nikolic and single scores from Gojko Kapovic and Togan Ozbeck. Golden West got two more goals from Ferreira and one from Pfeiffer to take a 10-8 lead into the final stanza.
The Rustlers made it 12-8 with early goals from Pfeiffer and Konstantinos Koulouris. Kapovic drew WVC to within 12-9 with 5:12 remaining and an Ozbek score with 1:30 remaining gave the Vikings hope, but the Rustlers drained the clock at the end to touch off an “all-gas-no-brakes” celebration.
Ferreira finished with a game-high six goals to lead GWC, followed by two each from Pfeiffer and Vidovics. Buzov, Kapovic and Zayola had two goals apiece for West Valley.
THIRD PLACE - #2S Saddleback Over #2N Diablo Valley 21-15
An 8-4 first quarter gave Saddleback (28-8) all it would need to take home the third-place hardware. Alec Abrahamian, Andrew Barnuevo, Dylan Gallegos and Alec Isaacman had two goals apiece for the Bobcats in the first to offset single goals from DVC’s Ryan Henderson, Nathan Ironside, Spencer Lowell and Nathan Lyckfors.
The Bobcats outscored the Vikings 6-2 in the second to take a 14-6 lead into the break. It was 18-11 after three, thanks to four goals from Jack Stevens. Saddleback grabbed a 21-13 lead with 3:09 to go on an Aiden Rule goal and Viking goals from Finley Zink and Henderson closed out the scoring.
Stevens led the Bobcats with a game-high six goals, followed by four from Isaacman and three each from Barnuevo and Gallegos. Donovan Chan topped the Vikings with five goals, while Lyckfors had four and Henderson tallied three.
MVP: Konstantinos Koulouris, Golden West
(Matt Folsom, CCCSIA)