Vikings swim past Modesto, Diablo Valley into CCCAA State Championship tournament

The 2021 CCCAA NorCal champions
The 2021 CCCAA NorCal champions

The West Valley men's water polo team captured its third NorCal championship in four years with two wire-to-wire wins at the CCCAA Regional Championships Saturday at Las Positas College in Livermore. The Vikings advance to the CCCAA Men's Water Polo State Championship Nov. 19-20, also at LPC. The Vikings (16-3) are the #1 north seed and will take on south #2 Saddleback (27-7) Friday morning. Coach Willo Rodriguez's Vikings remained unbeaten against community college teams in 2021 by jumping out to big leads against the Pirates (17-12) and DVC (17-3).

NorCal semifinal: West Valley over Modesto 19-2

Ran Souva scored 56 seconds after the ball dropped to set off a tsunami of Viking goals that resulted in a 9-0 lead with 2:35 left in the second quarter. WVC's 10-1 halftime lead grew to 13-4 after three, and the Vikings sealed it with a 5-0 fourth quarter.

11 Vikings scored at least one goal, led by three each from Mario Almarza and Gojko Kapovic, and two apiece for Bendeguz Aubeli, Lucas Romaguera and Carlos Zayola. Aubeli and Romanguera paced a stingy Viking defense with three steals each; the pair also had a game-high three assists apiece. Kai Seed improved to 13-3 (11-0 vs. CCCAA opponents) in goal, stopping 11 Modesto shots.

NorCal Final: West Valley over Diablo Valley 14-6

West Valley again struck early against Diablo Valley in Saturday night's "Battle of the Vikings" championship. Ante Buzov scored on the Vikings' first posession after WVC won the opening sprint. Back-to-back goals from Carlos Zayola and an Aubeli goal at 1:09 gave WVC 4-0 lead heading into the second. WVC countered a pair of Ryan Henderson goals with two more Buzov goals and single tallies from Hammish Bonnar and Kapovic to go up 8-2 at halftime.

DVC opened the third quarter with a pair of scores to get within 8-4, but another Buzov goal and two from Romanguera made it 11-5 after three. Three straight goals gave WVC an insurmountable 14-5 lead with 1:57 to go. DVC's Ethan Salweno closed out the scoring with a final goal at 1:15.

Buzov finished the night with five goals, two assists and a steal. Kapovic had one goal, seven assists and four steals. Aubeli had three of WVC's 14 steals, and Seed had 11 saves to get the win in goal.

West Valley's state championship games will be livestreamed on Bay Area Online Sports Network (BAOSN). A link to BAOSN is available on the CCCAA website: