RCC is a state champion once again

By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief

Most valuable player (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)

By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief

While the minutes counted down to the end of the state championship match Nov. 19, Ashley Fedler shot a backhanded goal that put the Riverside City College women’s water polo team up, 6-4, against Golden West College.

The goal would secure RCC’s second consecutive state title and the Tigers’ fourth state championship in the past six years.

The Tigers had a lot going for them leading up to their state championship final against Golden West since RCC was able to defeat Golden West twice in the past two weekends.

Riverside defeated Golden West Nov. 5 in the Orange Empire Conference championship match, 6-5, in overtime and again in the Southern California championship match, 9-4, Nov. 12.

In an in-studio interview with Viewpoints prior to the start of the state championship finals, RCC’s goalkeeper Andrea Antonissen talked about how the momentum was in the Tigers favor.

“I feel like we are always going to have that advantage because we are the better team,” she said. “We have determination and drive to go win.”

But before RCC could meet Golden West in the state finals, both teams had to get past the two top teams from the North, No. 1 Merced College and No. 2 Diablo Valley College.

Golden West defeated Merced College easily with a 14-4 win while RCC was able to beat Diablo Valley College easily too, with an 11-4 victory.

Surprisingly although Riverside handled Diablo Valley so easy, David Almquist, coach of RCC, said they never prepared for the team. All of RCC’s preparations were focused on Golden West.

“We have been training for Golden West for 45 days,” he said. “Because we knew we couldn’t win state unless we beat them.”

“We know their plays better than they do,” Almquist said. “We were calling out their plays before they even ran them.”

Almquist said the team spent five minutes on preparing for Diablo Valley College because they were only focus on this one finals match against Golden West.

The Tigers began celebrating winning their second consecutive state championship by pushing coach Almquist and Doug Finfrock into the pool with the team where they hugged and cheered in joy.

“I am really excited,” said Brooke Koralewski, defender for RCC, who had two goals in the state championship match.

“I am proud of my team all together,” she said.

Two goals by Koralewski and Alison Glaser, defender of RCC, in the third quarter were the ones that gave RCC a 5-2 lead heading into the fourth.

“Our main focus is to score early because the earlier you score, the more goals you can put up (and) the more it makes the other team to quit,” Glaser said.

Although RCC gained a big lead, Golden West was able to get back into the match as it scored a late goal in the third period then two more goals in the fourth.

Then eventually that set up the big important play Fedler made to get the win for Riverside.

With 12 saves in the match, Antonissen received the Most Valuable Player award for the state championship finals.

“I felt that my defense was good to give me (the opponent’s) bad shots and I am a good enough goalie to get those,” she said about if she felt any pressure in the match.

As back-to-back women’s water polo state champions, Riverside made history as it is only the second team to accomplish the task.

“It is really hard,” Almquist said. “I have been coaching for 39 years and I never won back-to-back.”

As state champions during their freshman year, Koralewski, Fedler, Caroline Teets and Tara Scheibeler have already said Riverside is going to win a third straight state championship next season.

But in the meantime, RCC is excited winning back-to-back.

“I am very pleased to win (the state title twice in a row),” Almquist said. “Because I never done it.”

 

The best in the state (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)