The Ventura College women's water polo team had a stellar defensive effort Wednesday afternoon in San Luis Obispo in the opening round of the Western State Conference Tournament. Shayle Barrus had 12 saves and three steals in goal and Lauren Mora grabbed five thefts as the No. 5-seeded Pirates (15-12, 2-4) upset No. 4 Cuesta 5-1 to advance to the WSC Final Four this coming weekend at LA Valley. Cali Iadevaia and Leanna Ramirez each scored two goals in the victory.
Raylynn Lipsky assisted Iadevaia's goal in the middle just over a minute into the contest for a 1-0 Pirate lead. The Cougars came back with a goal late in the period to knot the score at the quarter break. Ramirez and Drew Reyes each netted scores to begin the second stanza, and Iadevaia netted a score with just :01 on the clock for a 4-1 Ventura advantage at halftime.
Ramirez found the inside of the cage late in the third quarter in the defensive battle to set the final 5-1 margin.
Lipsky handed out a pair of assists on the day while Reyes, Abby Coker and Chloe Golden also had passes that let to VC goals. Lipsky also came up big defensively with four steals and Reyes picked up two thefts.
Ventura advances to Friday's conference semifinal in which they will face No. 1-seed Santa Barbara. The game is scheduled for 2:45 pm at LA Valley College in Valley Glen.