LIVERMORE - The juggernaut that is the Golden West men's water polo team captured its fifth-straight CCCAA state championship with a wire-to-wire 12-10 win over the up-to-the-task West Valley Vikings Saturday at Las Positas College. The championship is the 30th overall in the storied history of the Rustlers, by far the most championships of any program in any CCCAA sport.
Head coach Scott Taylor secured his 12th state title while leading the Rustlers and they have won the last 8 of 11 titles. Associate Head Coach Peter Janov secured his third state title in a row.
A 6-3 first-quarter lead got Golden West (28-2) started on the right foot. Three goals from GWC leading scorer Felipe Ferrreira 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 Ozbeck. Golden West got two more goals from Ferrreira 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 touch off an "all-gas-no-brakes" celebration.
Ferrreira finished with a game-high six goals to lead GWC, followed by two each from Pfeiffer and Vidovics. Buzov, Kapovic and Zayola had two goals apiece for West Valley.
MVP: Konstantinos Koulouris, Golden West