Lauren Wiksell netted five goals as the Ventura College women's water polo team claimed their Southern California Regional Playoff opener 10-7 over Cerritos Thursday in Huntington Beach. The program's single-season assist record holder led the Pirates (24-8) by finishing plays and Maeve Flynn scored three times to help VC advance to the SoCal quarterfinals.
Wiksell, who has set the school's single-season assist record this year, got the No. 7-seeded Pirates off to a good start with a 5m goal in the opening minute and another score at the 5:33 mark of the opening period. She also provided an answer for VC following the Falcons' first score of the game with another 5m goal. Cerritos, the No. 10-seed in the draw, tied the score at 3-3 before Flynn turned a Ylva Ostlin assist into another point as Ventura led 4-3 at the end of the first period.
The teams traded scores early in the second, with Flynn providing a score at the 6:02 mark to make it 6-5 for the Pirates. Wiksell added another score with 1:34 on the clock and Cerritos converted an advantage situation late to make it 6-5 at halftime.
Beth Arbon and Wiksell provided scores on back-to-back possessions early in the third quarter to give VC some breathing room, and Cerritos scored late. VC led at the end of three, 8-6.
In the final stanza, Flynn and Kelsey Golden provided the offense to open up a 10-6 lead, helping send Ventura to the next round by a final score of 10-7.
VC's leading scorer on the season Paige Treloar-Ballard did not find the net against the Falcon defense, but did draw three exclusions and had two steals. Golden and Flynn also had two steals each defensively. Valeria Ramirez anchored the Pirate defense with 16 saves in the cage to go along with a steal and two assists.
The Pirates advance to Friday's regional quarterfinal against No. 2 Fullerton. The game is set to begin at 11:30 am at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.