The Saddleback women's soccer team battled back from a deficit to earn a 1-1 tie with Orange Coast College on Tuesday night at the stadium. The Gauchos remain in fourth place in conference play after the split.
Saddleback trailed 1-0 in the opening half after OCC took the lead in the 22nd minute on a goal from Lupe Rodriguez. It was part of a first half that saw the Pirates outshoot the Gauchos 14-4, including an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal.
The second half was better for Saddleback as they kept things closer, looking for the equalizer. It finally came in the 57th minute when Marissa Meissner was credited with a goal after a defensive breakdown from Orange Coast. It was Meissner's first goal of the year.
Critical in the tie was keeper Dz-Rae Jara, who finished with nine saves and kept the conference's leading scorer Sydnee Busby off the scoreboard. Busby entered the game with 17 goals for the year and had four shots on goal, but Jara was up to the task.
Saddleback headed into the game reeling from a rash of injuries that hit the team in the past two weeks, but the tie keeps them in fourth place in Orange Empire Conference play and in the thick of things for a playoff berth next month. The Gauchos are one point back of third place Cypress, two back of second place Orange Coast and 10 back of Santiago Canyon.
Saddleback will play again at Santa Ana on Friday. Match time is set for 3:00 PM.