The Saddleback men's water polo team won three games at the South of the Border Tournament this weekend hosted by both San Diego Mesa College and San Diego Miramar College. The Gauchos defeated all three community college opponents before losing a close battle with an NCAA Division III program.
Saddleback opened the tournament with an exciting 14-13 win in overtime against Citrus College at Miramar College. The Gauchos trailed 8-5 midway through the second quarter before chipping away at the lead and taking the lead 13-12 with just 1:34 remaining in regulation. Citrus, however, had different plans as they tied the game in the final second to force overtime. Saddleback responded with a goal by Matt Roche at 1:23 of the overtime period and held on for the win. Andrew Dimino led the Gauchos with five goals in the game while James Martin had four.
Later in the afternoon Saddleback took to the pool against El Camino College. The Gauchos rolled past the Warriors 21-4, scoring the first five goals of the game and never looking back. El Camino closed the big lead to 12-4 midway through the third quarter before Saddleback tacked on nine straight goals to end the game. Jacob Lee had a sensational game, leading the Gauchos with seven goals in the win.
Saddleback then opened Saturday with another cliffhanger against Merced College at San Diego Mesa College. The Gauchos outdueled the Blue Devils in double-overtime, 17-16, giving Merced its first loss of the season. Matt Roche was the star in overtime, scoring all three goals as Saddleback held on for the win. Roche finished with a team-high six goals in the game while James Martin added four.
Saddleback finished the tournament against NCAA Division III program Occidental College. The Gauchos got off to a great start against the Tigers before running out of gas. Saddleback led 5-0 to start the game before Occidental made a run. The Tigers took the lead with 3:49 remaining and held on for a 13-12 win.
Saddleback is now 5-4 overall after the tournament and will have an Orange Empire Conference game this Wednesday versus Fullerton College before hosting the Saddleback Invitational this weekend. The Gauchos host the Hornets at 4:00 PM on Wednesday at the Saddleback Pool and will open the Saddleback Invitational on Friday against San Diego Miramar College at 9:00 AM.