Golden West, which was pushed to the edge of elimination twice in the regional playoffs before prevailing, opens play in the State men's volleyball tournament Friday at Irvine Valley College.
The Rustlers (16-5) play Los Angeles Pierce (16-2) at 7:30 p.m. Palomar (15-3) meets Los Medanos in the other semifinal at 4:30 p.m. The title game is at 7:30 Saturday and the third-place match is at 4:30.
Golden West, which finished second in the Orange Empire Conference, earned a berth in the State tournament by beating Santa Monica in five games Monday morning, then beating Long Beach in five games that night. Golden West won the final game, 24-22.
Golden West is led by sophomore outside hitters Greg Reitz and Shadd Walker, both from Huntington Beach High. Walker is a transfer from Irvine Valley.
Orange Coast, which has won the last seven State women's swimming titles, is looking for No. 8 starting today at Ohlone College in Fremont.
Orange Coast has only nine swimmers and two divers entered. In order to rest his team, OCC Coach Don Watson pulled his relay team from competition in the Orange Empire Conference meet last weekend and finished fifth overall.
"I don't think we could have won (conference) and given our best effort at State the very next weekend," Watson said. "Conference is nice, but State is where the attention is and it's fun to win too."
Orange Coast will have 23 swimmers, including four relay teams. The OCC men's team, which also won the State title last season, is sending eight swimmers and a diver entered in 15 events, none of which are relays.