The Pirates' women's water polo team had a three-goal run late in the third and early in the fourth periods and hung on down the stretch to defeat Cuesta 9-8 Friday in the semifinals of the Western State Conference Tournament in Santa Monica. Chloe Golden had a goal and three assists, including the go-ahead score in the third quarter, to lead the No. 3-seed Ventura (14-11, 6-2) past the No. 2-seeded Cougars.
The Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the opening period on a pair of scores by Cali Iadevaia. Cuesta came back with three unanswered goals in the second quarter before Talullah Lund Sidi tied the game with a goal in the final minute of the first half.
Cuesta and Ventura traded goals in the third period, with both teams holding slim advantages before the score was tied at 6-6. Golden broke the deadlock with a goal at the 3:10 mark of the quarter before she assisted Raylynn Lipsky's score a minute later for an 8-6 Pirate margin at the quarter break. Drew Reyes scored two minutes into the fourth quarter for a 9-6 VC advantage, and the Pirates held on from there to claim the 9-8 victory.
The win avenges the Pirates' 10-6 loss to the Cougars on Oct. 13.
Iadevaia had two goals in the game along with a pair of assists, a steal and one drawn exclusion. Reyes also scored twice with two assists, four steals and a drawn exclusion and Lund Sidi recorded two goals. Golden also added a pair of steals in the game and goalie Shayle Barrus had six saves and two steals in the cage.
The Pirates will play for the program's ninth WSC title on Saturday Nov. 3 at 1:30 pm at the Santa Monica College pool against top-seed Santa Barbara City College. VC is making its 13th appearance in the conference championship match in the past 17 years.