ARC Beavers competed in the 40th Cuesta Invitational this weekend at beautiful Bakersfield. The tournament challenged the young men after a big win on Wednesday vs. Sierra Wolverines and a tough Thursday practice.
Immediately after Thursday's practice, the men departed for a five hour drive to compete against Riverside and LA Valley Colleges. After a tough loss to Riverside, the men met with the #1 team in the state, LA Valley, for the third time and came up short. Friday, the Beavers were tired, but prepared for battle the next day.
Saturday, the Beavers faced off with tournament host Cuesta College. In an intense game, the Beavers fell short by 2 goals. Josh Ford had a solid defensive game and Ian Brady led the way for offense. All players improved drastically against Cuesta.
Upon entering the final game against long-time powerhouse West Valley College, ARC came together with strong focus and determination to pull off an upset. In a fierce clash both schools kept a 1 point game throughout 4 quarters. Calum Campbell led the Beavers in energy and efforts. All players extended throughout the team, showed up big, and played hard.
In the final two minutes of the game, ARC was down by 2 points. With strong defensive efforts from Jake Bowers, Ian Brady, Michael Burgess, Calum Campbell, Josh Ford, and Syrus Reprogle – the men were able to shut down West Valley and convert 2 goals to tie the game. With 30 seconds remaining, the Beavers had one last offensive possession to convert a game wining goal. Coach Black and Coach Alex came up with a game plan to attack on the final play. All six players in the water ran continuous drives and in a brief moment of opportunity developed by efforts, Syrus Reprogle found himself open on the 7 meter and shot a buzzer beater "cross cage" shot to put the Beavers up by 1 with a .3 seconds remaining. West Valley devised a play similar to Sierra with all players in front of the cage in order to equalize the game. The Vikings attempted to get the equalizer. However, Josh Thiel (who also had an outstanding weekend with blocks in the double digits) was able to secure and pull down the final ball thrown his way for the weekend to secure the victory.
This was the first victory for Coach Black over NorCal Champions, West Valley, since 2001.
This victory resulted in the Beavers being one of the better teams in Northern California. As a unit, the Beavers developed and improved skills from this weekend and continue to click, find their rhythm, and improve as a team.
Looking ahead, the Beavers travel to Delta College in Stockton this Wednesday for their second conference game. The Beavers are 1-0 in Big 8 and 6-6 overall.