Viking men fall to Golden West in CCCAA state title game

Viking men fall to Golden West in CCCAA state title game

An up-to-the-task West Valley men's water polo team came up just short in the CCCAA state championship game, falling 12-10 to four-time defending champion Golden West Saturday at Las Positas College. The Vikings finished second in the state for the second time since 2017, losing both times in close games against the Rustlers.

The Vikings found themselves down 6-3 at the end of one. 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 Ozbek. 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 claim their fifth-consecutive championship.

Buzov, Kapovic and Zayola had two goals apiece for West Valley, while Viking keeper Kai Seed finished with eight saves. Seed and Nicolic were named to the All-Tournament team.

Friday Semifinal: West Valley over Saddleback 12-9

The Vikings drew first blood with a Buzov goal two minutes in, but back-to-back goals from Dylan Gallegos and Alec Abrahamian gave the Bobcats (27-8) a 2-1 lead. Buzov evened it at 2-2 with another goal and Mario Almarza scored to give WVC a 3-2 lead after one. The teams traded goals in the second quarter until a pair of Buzov scores gave the Vikings a 6-4 halftime advantage. Buzov gave WVC an 8-5 lead midway through the third quarter before leaving with his third exclusion. A Kapovic goal just before the buzzer boosted WVC to an 11-7 lead after three. Kapovic made it 12-7 with a goal on WVC's first possession of the fourth, but Alec Isaacman scored with five minutes left to pull Saddelback to within 12-8 with lots of time left. Saddleback's Andrew Barnuevo scored the game's final goal with 1:49 remaining for the 12-9 final.  

Buzov paced the Vikings with five goals, followed by Almarza with three and two from Kapovic. Seed finished with 12 saves.