A decisive few days for the fall season arrives this weekend.
Looking to defend their conference titles, the Ventura College men's and women's water polo teams will be the top seeds at this weekend's Western State Conference championships at Los Angeles Valley College.
The two teams went a combined 8-0 in WSC play. Both will face the winner of a preliminary march between host Valley and Santa Monica Friday.
The Ventura men (17-4), ranked No. 4 in the state, have won seven of its past eight games behind firepower like Spencer McGrath (52 goals, 20 assists), Mike Crowley (52 goals, 19 assists) and Tyler McClure (44 goals).
The Ventura women (16-4) have been led by the offense of sophomore Carly Clark, who has 91 goals, and the defense of sophomore Mary Dugan, who will defend high-scoring Citrus driver Meghan Turner should the two teams meet in Saturday's title game.
Turner has scored just one of her 72 goals in a pair of Ventura 13-8 wins over Citrus.
"We're pretty aware of what she can do," said Ventura coach Mary Giles. "We're really good defensively this year."
Two years after the Moorpark College women's soccer team ended cross-county rival Ventura's 10-year hole on the WSC North by clinching the title with a scoreless draw at the VC Sportsplex, the two teams will find themselves in the same place, in a similar situation Friday night at 5:30.
First-place Moorpark (13-0-3, 8-0-1) can clinch its second title in three years with a win or a draw. Second-place Ventura (13-3), 7-1) can top the table with a win.
"It's basically the same situation," said Ventura coach Steve Hoffman. "It's one of those games when you know you have to step up and do your thing.
"It's an interesting match. We know what we have to do. We have to go and try to win the game."
Moorpark earned its advantage with a 1-0 home win over Ventura on Oct. 13.
"I think we played pretty well the first time around, we just didn't finish in front of goal," said Hoffman. "We've got to deal with their speed and they defend awfully well."
The game features two of the high-scoring attackers in the state in Ventura's Jazmarae Strozier and Moorpark's Lindsey McClellan.
Strozier, the Buena High product whose father, Clint, played football for Moorpark, leads the state with 22 goals. Moorpark does not post its statistics.
"I think we're just going to play the best we can," said McClellan. "Hopefully it all works out."
The Moorpark College women's volleyball team (14-1, 6-0), ranked No. 4 in the state, can take a two-match lead in the WSC North if it extends its conference winning streak to 19 matches Tuesday at second-place Santa Barbara City (16-2, 5-1).
Five of the six local programs qualified for Saturday's Southern California cross-country championships at the familiar hilly course at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut.
Oxnard and Ventura college, which qualified both its men's and women's teams with solid finishes at last week's WSC Championships, is aiming for the Top 14 finishes that would mean a state meet berths.
"That would be really good," said Oxnard coach Gino Sharp. "It's difficult to just send one team."
Although like many local programs, the Pirates have been stricken by illness.
"It's a hard time of the year to keep everyone healthy, especially this year," said Ventura College coach Nancy Fredrickson. "It's gone through the entire team."