Fresh off a victory in the win-or-go-home play-in game at Cuesta on Wednesday, the Pirates' women's water polo team had strong efforts Friday and Saturday to claim third place in the Western State Conference Tournament at Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen. VC pushed eventual champion Santa Barbara Friday in an 11-8 setback before defeating the hosts Saturday in a hard-fought 8-6 victory. Shayle Barrus once again anchored the VC defense from the cage with 25 saves over the two games, establishing a new school record for single-season saves in the process.
Ventura 8, Santa Barbara 11
In the conference semifinal, the Pirates, seeded No. 5 in the draw, gave No. 1 SBCC all they wanted in the close game.
The Pirates held the Vaqueros scoreless through the first half of the second period before they netted two goals late. Leanna Ramirez scored before halftime as VC trailed 4-3 at the break.
Mora found the back of the cage to start the third quarter, but Santa Barbara responded with a pair of goals and the Pirates could get no closer.
Mora and Ramirez led the balanced Ventura attack with two goals each while Cali Iadevaia, Chloe Golden, Lipsky and Sierra Cameron all scored one goal each. Mora and Golden each recorded two assists. Defensively, Lipsky had four steals while Drew Reyes had three. Shaeleigh Russell and Annie Magno each picked up two thefts. Barrus had 15 saves in the cage to go along with four steals.
Ventura 8, Los Angeles Valley 6
In Saturday's match-up, the Pirates turned around a 9-7 loss to the Monarchs on Monday to an 8-6 victory to claim third place in the conference.
The teams exchanged goals in the first period before Mora's goal gave the Pirates a 3-2 advantage early in the second. The Monarch's responded with consecutive scores to take a 4-3 lead into halftime.
Iadevaia and Golden scored back-to-back goals to begin the third quarter to give VC the lead before LA Valley tied the game headed to the final stanza. The teams exchanged two more scores before Lipsky assisted an Iadevaia goal with 3:13 remaining to give the Pirates the lead for good. Lipsky scored an insurance goal with 1:30 on the clock to set the final margin.
Iadevaia scored five goals to lead the offense while Lipsky, Mora and Golden all scored once. Magno and Mora each handed out two assists and Mora had two steals.
Barrus was nails in the cage once again, turning back 10 shots and recording a pair of thefts for the Pirates. With her performance in goal, she has totaled 284 saves this season which establishes a new school record. She breaks the mark of 281 set by VC Hall of Famer and current goalie coach Brandy Creek in 2005.
Ventura next awaits its seed in the Southern California Regional Playoffs that will begin on Thursday Nov. 14 in Riverside.