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.