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HUNTINGTON BEACH - When the 2019 California Community College Athletic Association State Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Championships begin this weekend at Golden West College, the eight programs descending upon Huntington Beach share a combined 43 CCCAA State Championships and 88 CCCAA State Tournament appearances since 2000. That includes the appearances this year by the reigning champions on both the men’s (Golden West College) and women’s (Sierra College) side.
2019 CCCAA Men’s Water Polo State Championships Team Previews
SoCal #1 - Golden West College (25-4) | Orange Empire Conference Champions | SoCal Champions
Golden West College enters the 2019 CCCAA State Championships for the 42nd straight time in program history. The Rustlers are the winningest men’s program in the CCCAA with 27 State Championships, including three straight and four of the last five. Golden West went a perfect 6-0 in the Orange Empire Conference play and won the 2019 SoCal Regional title, defeating Long Beach City College 12-10 for their second straight win over the Vikings this season (Long Beach won first three meetings). The Rustlers have won 11 straight games coming into this weekend.
All-America and 1st team All-SoCal selection Manuel Augusto paces a balanced offense with a team-leading 66 goals and team-best 19 exclusions drawn on the year. Freshman Bruno Chiappine, also an All-America and a 1st team All-SoCal honoree, is second on the team with 54 goals, while leading the Rustler squad in steals with 22. In the cage, sophomore Spencer Tybur (a 2nd team All-SoCal selection) split time with sophomore Jake Huynen. Tybur stopped 59.7% of the shots he faced, with 83 saves to his name, while Huynen was just as solid with a 52% save percentage and 64 saves to his name.
NorCal #1 - Sierra College (19-9) | Big 8 Conference Runner-Up | NorCal Champions
Sierra College is making its first appearance in the CCCAA State Championships (State records only available back to 2000). Winners of seven of their last ten, the Wolverines are peaking at just the right time. Sierra would finish conference play 4-2, behind Diablo Valley College, but entered the Northern California Regionals as the #2 seed. After beating #3 West Valley College in the semi-finals, Sierra jumped out to a 12-7 lead after three quarters, before hanging on to beat the Vikings of DVC 15-13.
Freshman Daniel Fineberg is the team’s leading scorer with 69 goals in 2019. Sophomore Drew Grantham is second on the team with 44 goals and leads the team with 33 exclusions drawn. Sophomore Austin Wade rounds things out with 27 goals to go along with a team best 29 assists, to go along with 33 steals. In goal, sophomore Sawyer Gardetto has done the lion’s share of work for Sierra, recording 150 saves.
SoCal #2 - Long Beach City College (28-3) | South Coast Conference Champions | SoCal Runner-Up
This weekend will be Long Beach City College’s 15th State Tournament appearance since 2000, and their 10th in the last 12 years. The Vikings are the second winningest program in CCCAA history, with 9 CCCAA Championships, their last combing in 2015. Of their three losses this season, two have come at the hands of Golden West, while the other was against NCAA DI Long Beach State (7-14). Long Beach’s 28 wins this season are a state best, and their +205 goal differential was the second best mark in the State this season.
LBCC freshman Jose Loubriel was named the Southern California Most Valuable Player after putting together an all-around year with 58 goals, 21 assists, 37 steals, and 12 exclusions drawn. Sophomore Vedran Latkovic was named a 1st team All-SoCal honoree and All-America after leading the Vikings with 85 goals, while freshman Jose Barajas, also a 1st team selection and All-America, added 64 goals with an astounding 57 exclusions drawn. In goal, it’s been freshman Cole Raulston, as he’s notched 175 saves and blocked 55.2% of the shots he faced this year.
NorCal #2 - Diablo Valley College (21-3) | Big 8 Conference Champions | NorCal Runner-Up
Diablo Valley starts the weekend as one of the winningest program’s in Northern California Water Polo. The Vikings are making their 15th appearance in the State Tournament, but have come up short of a state title. Diablo is also making it’s first appearance back in the final weekend for the first time since 2015. The Vikings were the champions in the Big 8, and have won nine of their last ten games. Their lone loss in that stretch was a 13-15 loss to Sierra in the NorCal Championship Game.
Sophomore Matt Peterson is the leading offensive threat for the Vikings, with a team best 76 goals and team leading 37 assists. Peterson also has 62 steals to his name and has drawn 26 exclusions thus far this season. Freshman Donovan Chan has been a strong contributor with 58 goals, while sophomore Berch Parker has scored 54 goals, handed out 22 assists, and recorded 39 steals. Sophomore Cameron Jamison rounds things out in the cage with 171 saves on the year.
2019 CCCAA Women’s Water Polo State Championships Team Previews
SoCal #1 - Fullerton College (30-3) | Orange Empire Conference Champions | SoCal Champions
Fullerton College has been considered the top team in Southern California throughout the 2019 campaign. The Hornets backed that up this past weekend when they knocked off conference rival Riverside City College 8-5. It was the fifth meeting between the two schools this year, with Fullerton going 4-1 against the Tigers. This weekend is the Hornets’ fourth trip to the State Championships, with their lone title coming in 2014.
Fullerton is paced by sophomore Bryanna Santis who was named the CCCAA SoCal Player of the Year. Santis was third on the team in goals (52), led the team with 62 assists, and recorded 37 steals and 27 drawn exclusions. Freshman Kelly Doherty had a team high 82 goals and recorded a team high 73 steals. Sophomore Alexandra Lopez rounds out a fearsome threesome with 67 goals, 33 assists, 32 steals, and a state leading 71 drawn exclusions. In goal sophomore Tatiana Cava has led the way with 236 saves and a 64.7% save percentage which is seventh in the State (minimum of 14 games played).
NorCal #1 - West Valley College (24-6) | Coast Conference South Division Champions | NorCal Champions
The Vikings are the new kids on the block in this weekend’s State Championships as they are making their first appearance in the final weekend of competition (State records only date back to 2000). West Valley ran away with the Coast Conference South Division and then took care of business in the Northern California Regionals where they won their first ever NorCal Championship. In the Championship Game vs Sierra, the Vikings jumped out to a 6-3 lead at the break and never really looked back.
Freshman Nadja Novakovic, the NorCal MVP and All-America honoree, is one of the top offensive threats in this weekend’s tournament after finishing fourth in the State with 111 goals thus far in 2019. She also leads the team in assists (43) and steals (36). Sophomore Sierra Ceballos, a 2nd team All-NorCal selection and also an All-America selection, added 68 goals, 36 assists, and 35 steals. Sophomore goalie Raquel de Pinho, who earned a 1st team All-NorCal nod and All-America honors, staked her claim as one of the top shot stoppers in the State with 272 saves (4th in the CCCAA) and a 65.7% save percentage (6th in the CCCAA).
SoCal #2 - Riverside City College (27-6) | Orange Empire Conference Runner-Up | SoCal Runner-Up
The Tigers head into this weekend as one of, most successful Women’s Water Polo program in the State of California. Riverside is in it’s 16th State Championship tournament since the 2000 season, and is home to five previous CCCAA titles. Their five State Championships is second only to Golden West College, who has won eight women’s titles. The Tigers head into the final weekend of the year with wins in seven of the last ten. All three of those losses have come at the hands of SoCal #1 Fullerton College, whom Riverside got the best of earlier in the year 9-6.
With the largest roster of the weekend, Riverside also boasts arguably the deepest roster of the weekend. The Tigers have 11 athletes with double-digits goals, and seven with at least 20 scores. Leading the pack is freshman Maria Roldan who leads the team in goals (56) and assists (39) and was a 1st team All-SoCal Selection and an All-America honoree. Also earning 1st team All-SoCal honors and All-America honors was freshman Nicole Tormey, who had 51 goals, 31 assists, and a team leading 108 steals, which ranked second in the CCCAA. In the cage, the Tigers boats sophomore Madison Button, who was a 2nd team All-SoCal selection and an All-America honoree. Button has 225 saves in 30 appearances this year, and has posted a 60.2% save percentage.
NorCal #2 - Sierra College (20-7) | Big 8 Conference Champions | NorCal Runner-Up
The most decorated team in Northern California, Sierra comes into this weekend as the reigning CCCAA Champions, after defeating Fullerton in overtime last season 7-6. This weekend is the 15th appearance for the Wolverines in the State Championships since 2000, second only to Riverside City College of the four teams competing this weekend. Sierra College has won four of it’s last five, with their lone loss in that stretch coming to the NorCal Champion West Valley College in the NorCal Title Game.
Freshman Angie Calzada, who was named a 2nd team All-NorCal honoree and All-America, leads the way for the Wolverines, leading the team with 55 goals. Sophomore Cierra Couch, a 1st team All-NorCal and All-America selection, is second on the team with 32 goals, while recording a team best 31 steals. Sophomore Kate Baltzer is responsible for a team best 24 assists, while freshman Sabrina Grato has drawn a team high 27 exclusions. Freshman goalie Samantha Churcher, herself a 1st team All-NorCal and All-America award winner, meanwhile has recorded 186 saves and leads the entire CCCAA with a 67.6% save percentage (minimum of 14 games played).
How to Follow
The best way to follow this weekend’s exciting action is to join in person at Golden West College in beautiful Huntington Beach, CA. Entry to this weekend’s games is $12 per person per day. Staff, Faculty, Students, Veterans, Individuals 60+, and Children 12 & Under, will be $8 per day.
(Andrew Wheeler, CCCSIA)