By Tony Acosta, Stockton Record
STOCKTON, Calif. - Both the Delta College men's and women's water polo teams used their home pool advantages to dominate their first-round matches at the CCCAA Northern California Regional Championships on Friday at June Fergusson Pool.
And with a win today, both Delta teams can qualify for next week's state tournament at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo.
Led by five goals each by Matt Vanderlans and Kole Gonzales, the third-seeded Delta men cruised the first three quarters and routed No. 6 American River 12-5.
Earlier in the day, the top-seeded Mustang women overcame a sluggish start and crushed No. 8 Merced 18-4.
Delta's men will take on No. 2 Sierra, the 2017 Big 8 Conference champion, today at 1 p.m. The winner advances to tonight's 7 p.m. title game.
In Friday's other men's game, No. 4 Modesto beat No. 6 Merced 9-6, and will play top-seed West Valley at 11:40 am today. The winner plays either Delta or West Valley in the championship match.
Vanderlans, a former Lodi High standout, is in his first-year at Delta (17-12), but had playing experience at UC Santa Barbara. He was a terror in the first quarter, registering the game's three goals with a 1 minute, seven second span.
"To be honest, a lot of what we did today was due to our solid team effort," Vanderlans said. "We spent a lot of time watching film and seeing what the matchups were going to be. (The win) showed how we were paying attention in the classroom and in practice."
Gonzales, a sophomore from Ripon, was another key, scoring one of his five tallies on a penalty shot and another on a sweet lob assist from Vanderlans.
Cody Wickman of Modesto-Downey and Lodi High product Marshall Grim each had a goal for the Delta men.
On the other end of the pool, Mustang goalie Connor Revay, a sophomore from Bear Creek, had 12 saves.
"Our entire year is based around getting to the (NorCal) semifinals and matching up with Sierra and winning that game," said longtime Delta men's coach Mike Maroney. "If we win, we'll get to go to state again and stay among the top teams in the north."
Delta finished third in the Big 8 Conference, losing to Diablo Valley in the semifinals, thus giving Sierra the higher seed in the NorCal tourney.
DELTA WOMEN 18, MERCED 4
Maddie Wittkowske, a freshman from Kimball, sophomore Hannah Hayes of St. Mary's, and freshman Taylor Kleinert of Tokay each had three goals for the Delta women (25-9).
Alyssa Andersen, a freshman from Kimball, freshman Maddie Lincoln of Lincoln, and freshman Jessica Diaz from Madera each had two goals, and freshman goalie Tahlia Pou of Lincoln had 13 saves.
"We saw Merced play earlier in the season and they have really good players and we didn't key in on any one player but we had a really good team effort," said sixth-year Delta women's coach Nate Varosh.
"We were quite a bit faster than they were. Our starters played great defense early and our subs were able to keep the momentum going."
Delta's women will play No. 7 West Valley, a 7-4 winner over No. 5 Santa Rosa, in the semifinals at 9 a.m.today.
In other women's games, No. 3 American River topped No. 6 Foothill 11-7 and No. 2 Sierra beat No. 4 Cabrillo 14-4. ARC meets Sierra at 10:20 a.m. in the semis. The women's title game is at 5:30 p.m. today.