The Saddleback men's water polo team advanced to the third place game on Saturday by splitting two games at the Orange Empire Conference Tournament on Thursday at Cypress College. The Gauchos streaked past Santa Ana College in the opener before falling to Orange Coast.
Saddleback finished in third place during the regular season and now the Gauchos will play for third place at the tournament finals. The Gauchos opened the day with a dominating performance against Santa Ana, blasting the Dons 27-4. Joshua Mourer (pictured) had a big game for Saddleback, netting seven goals in the contest. He scored in every quarter including two in the opening eight minutes as the Gauchos opened up a 7-0 lead to start the game.
Saddleback then took on Orange Coast for the rights to go to the tournament championship game on Saturday. The Gauchos played gamely, keeping the contest throughout the first half. Max Gonter scored consecutive goals in the second quarter as Saddleback had things even at 3-3 with four minutes remaining in the half.
Orange Coast went on a bit of a run to start the third quarter, scoring the first three goals to take a 7-4 lead. The Gauchos played even the rest of the way but could never get closer than two over the final eight minutes. Gonter would finish with a team-high three goals in a 10-7 loss.
Saddleback will take on Riverside City College in the third place game on Saturday at 11:10 AM. The Gauchos defeated the Tigers 13-7 in the opening game of Orange Empire Conference play on September 27.
Women's water polo will open the Orange Empire Conference Tournament on Friday at 10:20 AM when they face Golden West College.