The tsunami that is the West Valley men's water polo team rolled through the competition at the West Valley Aquatics Center Saturday to capture its 31st-straight Coast Conference championship. Coach Willo Rodriguez's Vikings swamped Ohlone 25-7 in the tournament semifinal and Merced 24-6 in the championship. Up next for West Valley is a visit to Las Positas Nov. 12-13 for the CCCAA NorCal Championships and a shot at the CCCAA State Championship tournament Nov. 19-20, also at Las Positas.
Up next for West Valley is a visit to Las Positas Nov. 12-13 for the CCCAA NorCal Championships and a shot at the CCCAA State Championship tournament Nov. 19-20, also at Las Positas. The Vikings are the #1 NorCal seed and will face the winner of Friday's game between #4 Modesto (17-10) and #5 Merced (14-12) Saturday at 9:00am.
Lucas Romaguera got the morning game going with a goal :23 after the opening sprint. After Ohlone's Gavin Moran tied it up :17 later, the Vikings scored 19 unanswered goals before Ohlone's Tommy Ryken scored with :02 left in the second quarter to make it 20-2. The teams each scored five second-half goals. Romaguera and Togan Ozbek had a game-high four goals each, followed by Gojko Kapovic and Gabriel Vado with three apiece. Mario Almarza, Zachary Kassak, Nikola Nikolic and Ran Souva finished with a pair of goals each, while Jake Mendez and Jordan Will both found the back of the cage once. Mendez handed out a team-high three assists, and Carlos Zayola came up with three steals. Kai Seed picked up the win in goal, stopping five shots in two quarters, before giving way to Nathaniel Cazares and Casey Ocallaghan, who had a save each in the second half.
Romaguera again ignited the championship game with a goal at the 7:14 mark of the first. Kapovic made it 12-0 with a tally at 5:09 in the second quarter, before Dominic Guerra put Merced on the board with a score :13 later. The Vikings outscored the Blue Devils 7-0 in the third to go up 22-3 and then coasted to the 24-6 final. School records go back three decades and show the Vikings winning the conference title in each of those 30 years.
Nikolic, Kapovic, Ozbek, Romaguera, Caven Brown and Bendeguz Aubeli all had three goals for the Vikings. Souva handed out four assists and had three steals, while Nikolic had four assists, and Kapovic recorded three steals, two assists, and two field blocks. Seed faced only seven shots, stopping four, to get the win in goal. Cazares stopped all five Merced shots in the second half.
The Vikings head to NorCals leading the CCCAA in goals-per-game (18.71) and save % (55.4). They outscored opponents 318-118 overall and 133-35 in the Coast. Seed was #2 in the state with a 53.7 save %.
Team scoring leaders through Saturday are Nikolic with 35, followed by Kapovic's 33 and Romaguera's 29. Kapovic also has a team-high 35 steals. Seed is 12-3 with 110 saves.