A resurgent season came to a close Saturday for the Ventura College men's water polo team in the championship game of the Western State Conference Tournament, falling to Cuesta 18-11. As he has all season, transfer sophomore Andre Galvez led the Pirates with six goals, two assists and five drawn ejections. Zane Herman netted a pair of scores with three helpers and two drawn ejections.
The Pirates, who had already dropped a pair of games to the Cougars earlier in the year, played from behind almost the entire game. Cuesta scored their first goal on their opening possession, and Herman tied the score a minute later. Cuesta found the inside of the cage two more times before Andre scored his first goal of the game with 3:39 remaining in the first period. Andre then answered a Cuesta goal with his own score to make it 4-3 at the 2:29 mark before the Cougars netted three more goals before the end of the period. Andre scored with five seconds on the clock to make it 7-4 at the quarter break.
The teams traded scores for the first six minutes of the second quarter, but VC could not make up ground. Janson Cunningham and Benjamin Sweet each found the inside of the cage, but scores by the Cougars maintained the Pirates' deficit. Cuesta scored two more times in the final two minutes of the stanza to hold an 11-6 edge at intermission.
Any hopes of a Pirate comeback were dashed early in the third period as Cuesta scored twice out of the gate to hold a commanding 13-6 lead. Ventura was down 15-9 at the end of the third before falling by the final 18-11 margin.
Brayden Lauritzen recorded a pair of field blocks for the Pirates in the game while Alexis Nava had an assist and a steal. Jaeger Gonzales (5 saves) and Mariano Galvez (six saves) shared time in the cage for VC.
Ventura ends its season with a second place finish in the WSC, its best season since finishing as runner-up in 2013. The future looks bright for second-year head coach Gary O' Brien and his Pirates.