LONG BEACH — Golden West College won its second consecutive state water polo title Saturday with a 13-12, sudden-death victory over Cuesta at Belmont Plaza Pool.
Dave Johnson scored the winning goal for Golden West (27-4) 1 minute 2 seconds into sudden death. In last year's championship game, Golden West beat Cuesta, 14-10.
It was the ninth title since 1976 for Golden West and the second for Coach Ken Hamdorf, who has taken the Rustlers to the title game four years in a row.
Cuesta (31-2) held a 12-10 lead in overtime, but Golden West scored twice in the final 1:37 to force sudden death.
Golden West went a man up 50 seconds into sudden death when Cuesta's Toki Prlainovic was kicked out for dunking his man. Golden West then worked the ball around until Johnson flung it in.
Cuesta took a 3-0 lead in the first two minutes and led, 5-2, at the end of the first quarter. Cuesta, ranked No. 1 in the state and winner of three of four previous season meetings with Golden West, led, 6-4, at the half.
Golden West finally tied it, 9-9, on a goal by Johnson and went up, 10-9, on a goal by Carlos Fernandez with 2:47 left in regulation. Cuesta tied it, 10-10, on a goal from Robert Peterson with 2:04 left.
Cuesta got two goals in the first three-minute overtime and looked in control with two minutes left in the second overtime. But Golden West's Edvard Van Luijn scored with 1:37 left to close the gap to 12-11 and tied it, 12-12, from about six meters as the shot clock ran out with 33 seconds left.
"We weren't collapsing on the hole man on defense at the start," Hamdorf said. "But we picked it up after the first period."
Golden West goalie Scott Taylor, who had 12 saves in the final, was named the tournament's most valuable player. Van Luijn led Golden West with five goals.