The Saddleback women's soccer team has had a historic season and the Gauchos had another improbable performance on Friday, tying Cypress College 2-2. Saddleback remains near the top of the Orange Empire Conference standings with two games to play.
Saddleback has endured a lot in 2016, with multiple team-leaders going down with injuries. The Gauchos finally got one of the players back on Friday and she quickly made an impact.
Rachel Edelstein scored with under three minutes remaining to lift Saddleback to a 2-2 tie, playing a Cypress program that entered the afternoon with only one loss on the season. Edelstein had been sidelined for the past five games with a nagging injury and didn't take long to get into the swing of things. Her 10th goal of the season lifted Saddleback to equal after the Gauchos trailed 2-0 at the half.
Connor Steinbeck started the comeback in the 69th minute with an unassisted goal to get Saddleback within 2-1. It was Steinbeck's third goal of the season and breathed life into a Gaucho team that managed just three shots in the opening half.
Dz-Rae Jara played all 90 minutes in goal for Saddleback, stopping seven of the nine shots on goal by Cypress.
Saddleback is now 11-2-5 overall and 8-2-4 in OEC play with two games remaining on the schedule. The Gauchos trail Orange Coast College for third place by one point in the standings, with only one game remaining for the Pirates.
Saddleback has another huge mountain to climb on Tuesday as they host undefeated Santiago Canyon College at 3:00 PM. The Gauchos lost 1-0 at SCC early October, marking the beginning of the injury barrage when leading scorer Emilee Monnig went down with an injury in the opening half against the Hawks. Saddleback finishes the regular season at Fullerton on Thursday.
Saddleback is ranked No. 10 in Southern California in the power points formula, a big factor in determining the playoffs. A total of 18 programs are invited to play in the playoffs, which concludes with the state championships in Ventura in early December.