Defending champion Golden West returns to state championship game

Defending champion Golden West returns to state championship game

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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Matheus Santos scored four goals and Nick Hallam had three as unbeaten and defending champion Golden West College beat Sierra College, 14-6, in a California Community College Men's Water Polo semifinal at Cuesta College on Friday, giving the Rustlers a chance for their 24th state title.

Saturday's state championship game at noon will pit the top seeds from the north and the south with the south's Golden West (30-0) looking for its fourth championship since 2011 and the north's West Valley (31-2) searching for its first since 2010. The Vikings edged Long Beach City, 11-10, in overtime in Friday's other semifinal.

Sierra (16-9) will face Long Beach (20-7) for third place at 9:30 a.m.

Golden West left no doubt that it had its sights set on the state championship game by scoring six goals in the opening quarter for a quick 6-1 lead. Santos scored twice during that run while Vedran Latkovic, Mason Reynoso, Micah Kamai and Nicky Ure also added scores.

Cameron Hoppe, Samuel Hastie and Noah Scholar had first-half goals for the Wolverines but Golden West opened a 10-3 at halftime. The Rustlers led 12-4 at the end of the third quarter.

Hoppe, Scholar and Hastie each scored twice for Sierra while Latkovic added two for Golden West and Alex Nathan, Guillermo Ocasio, Reynoso, Kamai and Ure each had one. Gordon Pike had three saves in goal for Golden West and Alex Watkins had eight for Sierra.