Vikings avenge regular season loss with 8-7 Coast Championship win over Merced

The 2019 Coast Conference Champions
The 2019 Coast Conference Champions

The West Valley men's water polo team avenged a bitter regular season loss to Merced with an 8-7 win over the Blue Devils in the title game of the Coast Conference Championships at Las Positas. The championship is the seventh consecutive for the Vikings.

The 12-10 loss at Merced on Oct. 16 was the only blemish on the Vikings' regular season conference schedule and gave WVC plenty of motivation heading into the final. Xavier Casabella had a huge game in the cage, turning away 13 Merced shots. Miguel Navarro paced the offense with four goals, while Ben Fleming netted three. Jack Carlson was big on defense with five steals. 

The Vikings handled Ohlone 15-8 in the semifinal behind six goals from Navarro, three from Dakota Freudenstein and two each from Carlson, Inigo Gonzalez and Joel Nuñez. Casabella had 11 saves.

West Valley opened the tourney Friday by overwhelming Cabrillo 21-4. Fleming had four goals, and Navarro and Gonzalez netted three each. Casabella had a goal and five saves. Tristan Gorham had four second-half blocks in goal. 

The opening day wrapped up with a 25-12 win over rival De Anza. Navarro netted nine goals, while Fleming had six and Casabella had two in addition to five blocks in goal. Gorham stopped seven De Anza shots in the second half.