The Saddleback women's beach volleyball team opened the season today at Irvine Valley College, taking on two different squads on opening day. The Gauchos won their first set in program history after a frustrating season with no wins in 2016.
Saddleback had a tough time in its inaugural season last spring, and has high hopes that the program can rise after a solid indoor season. The Gauchos finished 0-7 a year ago, never winning a set while taking their lumps.
A year later the Gauchos have crossed one hurdle as the team of Kelli Dowell and Mariah Torres became the first to win a set, defeating a team from San Diego Mesa College on court three at IVC. The duo had to reach down deep for the win, edging the Olympians 15-12 in game three to earn the first win in program history.
Saddleback opened the season an hour earlier, falling 5-0 to NCAA Division II Concordia College. The Gauchos then went right back on the sand and lost to Mesa 4-1, with two of the losses coming in a decisive third game.
The duo of Landry Armstrong and Stevie Wenzel pushed Mesa to a final race to 15, but were toppled 16-14 in a marathon set. The team of Morgan Hocker and Mandy Sides looked as if they were cruising to a win on court two when fatigue set in. Hocker and Sides won the opening game and led by a sizable margin in game two before hitting the wall.
Saddleback will have some time off before taking on Long Beach City College on March 8. The match versus the Vikings is scheduled for 1:00 PM at Irvine Valley College.