The Saddleback women's soccer team defeated Norco College 3-1 on Friday in Norco. With the win, the Gauchos are now alone in fifth place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Saddleback is heading down the backstretch of the season and knew it needed a win in order to move up in the standings as they try to make a run at the Southern California playoffs. The Gauchos delivered against the Mustangs, who are winless in Orange Empire Conference play.
Saddleback opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when Jessica Kron fed Marisa Covarrubias (pictured) for her third goal of the season. It was part of a half where Saddleback controlled the play but was able to get only one goal past the Norco keeper.
Saddleback came out in the second half and quickly jumped on the Mustangs. Dani Frost scored her first goal of the season off a pass from Kenya Salgado in the 47th minute and the Gauchos had a 2-0 lead.
Norco cut the lead to 2-1 in the 73rd minute as Saddleback was rotating new bodies into the game on a hot and sticky day. The Gauchos responded quickly with a goal two minutes later when Natally Gomez scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season off a pass from Collette Halloran for a 3-1 advantage.
Saddleback was stingy on defense, allowing just three shots on goal to the Mustangs all afternoon. Keeper Dz-Rae Jara made a pair of saves to preserve the win.
Saddleback is now 7-4-5 overall and 4-4-4 in Orange Empire Conference play. The victory moves the Gauchos into sole possession of fifth place in OEC play…two points ahead of Santa Ana College (7-8-2, 4-6-2). With four games remaining in the conference schedule, Saddleback now trails fourth place Orange Coast College (8-4-4, 6-3-2) by four points.
The Gauchos will look to gain ground on the Pirates on Monday when they travel to Golden West College (4-9-3, 3-9) to take on the Rustlers. The game on Monday is a make-up date from Tuesday when the game was postponed due to heat and high winds. Match time is scheduled for 3:00 PM in Huntington Beach.