State finals here we come

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By Ricky Holmes / Staff Writer

By Ricky Holmes / Staff Writer

 At most colleges around the country, the sports that get the biggest following are baseball, football and basketball and Riverside City College is no exception. 

Well now, RCC has a couple of teams to root for… the men’s and women’s water polo teams. 
Both teams have been playing hard and playing well this season and have gone under the radar. 
Now is the time that these teams are getting the accolades that they deserve.
The men’s team went 19-13 and won two of its three matches at the Southern California Championships to advance to the state finals. The team’s only loss was to Golden West, 16-6. 
The team will have to face Golden West again in its    second game in the state finals to be held on Nov. 19. 
In their first match the Tigers will take on No. 2 from the north, Diablo Valley. The men’s team is seeded No. 3 in the southern section.
The men’s team has lost all three matches against Golden West this season, but hope to change that statistic by beating them in the state finals this weekend. 
With leading scorer Shawn Nolan in the water, the idea of pulling out a victory when it counts doesn’t seem unrealistic. 
Nolan, a sophomore from Arlington High School, has 86 goals in the 30 games that he has played in.
On Nov. 5 and 7, the women’s team played in the Orange Empire Conference at Golden West. 
The team blew their opponents out of the water, they beat Fullerton College in a 15-4 blowout and Orange Coast College 9-3 to give the team its sixth consecutive conference title.
The women’s water polo team are 27-2 and has had an excellent run this season. 
There has been solid play all season long, but coach Dave Almquist believes that the play of four players has attributed greatly to their success. 
Those players are Chelsea Harrod, Katie Teets, Jaime Clark and Jayme Pekarske.
“There are some pretty solid young ladies on the team that are playing really well,” Almquist said.
The team is going to have to keep playing that way if they hope to knock out Golden West in the state championships on Nov. 19. 
The team will face an opponent who has been a thorn in their sides since the season began. 
Riverside, who has been beaten by Golden West twice this year, will be seeded No. 1 in bracket B of the championships in their section.
At the Southern California Championship, Riverside defeated Golden West, 5-4, to advance to the state level. 
“We were fortunate to beat them by one at regionals and you have to remember that we never trailed in that game,” Almquist said. “We got ahead three to nothing and they were able to tie it but we were still able to pull ahead.”
Almquist is hoping to carry that winning momentum into their match against Golden West on Nov. 20. 
“I think that we are playing the very best team in the semifinals. I think that whoever wins that game will have the inside track on winning the state championship,” Almquist said.
Before taking on Golden West, Riverside will have to face a tough Foothill College team. 
Foothill College is the No. 2 seed from the north. 
They were the runner-up at the Northern California championship, losing to Modesto in the semifinals.
If all goes well at the tournament, Riverside will be vying for the state championship on Nov. 21.


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