Everything from state to conference titles will be decided in community college competition this week.
The first state title of the spring will be decided Saturday at Golden West in the men's volleyball final.
The host Rustlers, who won their first conference title in 18 years, already have qualified for the tournament along with American River and Long Beach. The final piece of the puzzle will fall into place tonight in the single elimination Southern California Regional at Orange Coast.
Los Angeles Pierce (15-3) and Palomar (10-8) play at 10 a.m. and Orange Coast (17-2) and Santa Barbara (10-8) meet at 1 p.m. The winners meet at 7 p.m. with the final state berth on the line.
The state tournament starts Friday with matches at 4:30 and 7:30. The championship match is at 7:30 and the third-place match is at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
--Swimming: The Orange Empire and the South Coast conference titles will be decided in three-day meets starting Thursday. The Orange Coast men and women are favored at the Orange Empire Conference meet, which takes place at Saddleback College.
Both Golden West teams are the favorites in the South Coast Conference, which is at Long Beach Belmont Plaza.
--Softball: The first-place tie in the Orange Empire Conference will be broken Wednesday when Cypress (57-3, 16-1) and Fullerton (31-10, 16-1) meet in a 3 p.m. game. Fullerton won the first meeting, 3-2, in nine innings and Cypress beat the Hornets, 2-0, in the second meeting. The winner will have a one-game lead with two left.
--Baseball: Rancho Santiago (33-4-1, 16-3) starts the week with a three-game lead over second-place Saddleback (30-6, 13-6) with five left. The Dons, who have won three of the last four state titles, most likely will clinch a tie for the title if they beat Riverside (30-8, 11-7) in a 2:30 p.m. game Thursday in Santa Ana.
--Track and Field: The Orange Empire Conference preliminaries are at 2 p.m. today at UC Riverside and the conference meet starts at noon Saturday at the same place. The rest of the season's track and field competition will be held well to the north.
The Southern California prelims (May 3) and finals (May 10) are at Bakersfield and the state meet (May 16-17) is at Fresno.