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Vikings rule the north with 3rd-straight NorCal crown

Sun Nov 13, 2022
Tournament MVP Jojo Scheer fires a 3rd quarter penalty shot in the semifinal against Sierra

Tournament MVP Jojo Scheer fires a 3rd quarter penalty shot in the semifinal against Sierra

The West Valley women's water polo earned a chance to defend its 2021 state championship next weekend with its third consecutive CCCAA NorCal Regional Championship Saturday night in Stockton. The Vikings topped Sierra 9-4 in the Saturday morning semifinal and then took care of San Joaquin Delta 14-2 in the Saturday night's regional championship.

West Valley now heads to the CCCAA Women's Water Polo State Championship tournament Nov. 18-19 at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. The Vikings (26-4) enter the tournament as the north #1 seed and will battle south #2 Santa Barbara City College (29-6) - a rematch of the 2021 championhsip game - Friday in the 10:30am semifinal. The other semifinal pits south #1 Orange Coast (27-4) against north #2 San Joaquin Delta (21-11) at 1:00pm.

The Vikings took on two Big 8 Conference heavyweights Saturday in the NorCal tournament.

NorCal Regional Semifinal: West Valley over Sierra 9-4:

The Vikings, who earned the semifinal berth with a Friday forfeit win over Ohlone, shook off the cobwebs to rally past the Wolverines (13-14) in Saturday's opener. Kianna Melvin opened the scoring with a goal on WVC's second possession, but three straight goals gave Sierra a 3-1 lead early in the second quarter. It was all West Valley from there.

Goals from Alex Harris and Paige McCroskey tied it up at 3-3 and six unanswered Viking goals and brick-wall goalkeeping from Grace Smith had the Vikings up 9-3 with 5:57 left in the game. Sierra's Sage Crews scored 16 seconds later for the final 9-4 score.

Tournament MVP Johanna Scheer scored twice, including a crucial five-meter conversion, in the third quarter, to go along two steals and a big field block to close out the first half. Melvin was all over the pool, scoring twice, recording five steals and drawing three Sierra ejections. Harris finished with two goals, a steal and a block, while Aiyana Mendoza had a goal, an assist and a steal. Smith stopped ten Wolverine shots, seven in the second half, and posted a pair of counter-pass assists, to pick up the win in goal.

NorCal Regional Championship: West Valley over San Joaquin Delta 14-2:

In a rematch of the 2021 NorCal final won by WVC 11-8, The Vikings jumped out to a 3-1 first quarter lead that grew to 6-2 at the half. McCroskey opened the scoring with a power play goal at 7:16 of the first period. Delta's Sophia Schwartz knotted it at 1-1 with a 6-on-5 conversion of her own at 5:07. Goals from Melvin (4:47) and Scheer (4:11) gave the Vikings the two-goal lead heading to the second.

Scheer made it 4-1 with an unassisted goal on WVC's initial second period possession, and Harris found the back of the cage :38 later to give WVC a 5-1 advantage. Schwartz connected on her second goal of the game to make it 5-2 with 4:43 left in the half. The Mustangs would not score again.

Delta would go scoreless the rest of the way due to an epic performance from Viking goalkeeper Smith. Smith stopped six Mustang shots in the first half, but, in the third and fourth quarters, she was impenetrable, turning away seven shots in the third and four in the fourth before giving way to backup Remini Jadro with three minutes to go. Her 17 saves were two shy of her career playoff high of 19, set against Fullerton in the 2021 state semifinal.

Aaliyah Lax was incendiary in the second half with three of her game-high four goals. Scheer finished with three goals, three field blocks and a steal, while Harris and Mendoza netted a pair of goals. Melvin had a goal and a block, while McCroskey and Taylor Hendricks each found the back of the cage once.  

2022 CCCAA Women's Water Polo State Championship:

The tournament is Nov. 18-19 at Southwestern College in Chula Vista. For ticketing, lodging and livestream information, visit the CCCAA website: