Livermore, CA - For the fourth straight year, and fifth time in the last six years, the two winningest programs in California Community College Athletic Association Men's Water Polo history will square off for the CCCAA Title. Golden West College (30-0), winners of 23 CCCAA State Men's Water Polo Championships, and Long Beach City College (32-6), winners of nine State Championships and the defending CCCAA State Champions, will face off tomorrow at 2:00 PM to decide this year's title.
S1 Golden West College 15 N2 San Joaquin Delta College 8
San Joaquin Delta College (18-12) would stay nearly neck and neck with the undefeated Rustlers through the first two quarters, before Golden West pulled away by outscoring the Mustangs 9-4 over the final 16 minutes of action.
Golden West would open the contest getting goals by freshmen Peter Lovas and Tom McJannett to open an early 2-0 lead. The Mustangs rallied over the next two minutes using a score by sophomore Sean Beutel and a 6-on-5 score by freshman Kole Gonzales to tie the game back up. Only a goal by GWC freshman Rowan Farrell with 1:58 left in the quarter would give the Rustlers a lead heading into the second quarter.
Rustler freshman James Smith would once again give Golden West a two goal lead, but Delta had an answer by Gonzales. GWC would use a power play score to go back on top by two, but the Mustangs proved pesky with a goal by freshman Cole Hutz that made it 4-5 with 2:22 left in the first half. The two teams would trade empty possessions, until a goal by freshman Alex Nathan with just one second showing on the clock gave Golden West a 6-4 lead at the break.
Golden West began to pick up momentum in the early part of the third quarter, scoring three of the first four goals to push their lead to four. Still San Joaquin Delta made one last run, cutting the Rustler advantage back down to two after an unassisted score sophomore Jay Halva with 4:04 left in the third. That's when GWC hit the gas, scoring the next five goals to push out to an insurmountable lead for Delta.
Lovas would lead all Rustler goal scorers with a game high four goals, to go along with a game high four steals. McJannett added two, while also adding a game high three exclusions drawn. For Delta, Gonzales had a team high three scores, while sophomore Michael Bria put forth a worthy effort in the cage, stopping 10 shots and recording a game high four steals.
S2 Long Beach City College 10 N1 West Valley College 4
Long Beach City College put on a defensive clinic in the second men's semi-final and fourth and final game of the day. LBCC held West Valley (21-6) scoreless through the first three quarters of action, keyed by 11 saves, including a pair of 5M shots, by sophomore goalie Nick Wood in the 10-4 win.
Long Beach ran out to a 9-0 lead before West Valley even scored their first goal. Freshman Gavin Kunkle scored the first three goals of the game, with one of the three coming on a 6-on-5 chance. By halftime, Long Beach led 6-0, and then 9-0 after three, thanks to two goals in the third by sophomore Teo Dadic.
West Valley finally snuck a goal past Long Beach and Wood with 5:53 with to go in the fourth, courtesy of sophomore Joey Coupe. West Valley would score again with 2:38, but a strike by Long Beach sophomore Jack Larson on the very next possession would more or less put the game away for good.
Kunkle's three first quarter goals would be the most goals by any player in the game on Friday. Long Beach freshman Myles Martinez would chip in with a pair of assists, and also matched freshman Carl Matthews for a game leading three steals. For West Valley, freshman Peter Castro would score twice, and sophomore goalie Crespin Hawkins would post nine saves and a pair of steals. On the day, West Valley was just 4 of 32 (12.5%) on shot attempts.
Championship Saturday Schedule
3rd Place Game: North #1 West Valley College vs North #2 San Joaquin Delta College - 11:00 AM
Championship Game: South #1 Golden West College vs South #2 West Valley College - 2:00 PM