The Saddleback women's soccer team finished the regular season with a 3-1 win against Orange Coast College on Friday at the Great Park in Irvine. With the win, Saddleback finishes the regular season in fifth place in the Orange Empire Conference.
Saddleback made a final pitch to the committee for a playoff spot with a 3-1 win against Orange Coast on Friday. The win moved the Gauchos ahead of the Pirates in power points, but my not be enough to get Saddleback into the playoffs.
Saddleback fell behind 1-0 when Orange Coast connected seven minutes into the game on a goal from Michelle Caballero. The Gauchos were outshot 13-7 in the opening 45 minutes, but Nina Ferreira kept Saddleback in the game with four saves to keep the game close.
Saddleback started the second half with a different attitude. The Gauchos started attacking and putting balls on net. They immediately broke through with a goal in the opening minute to tie the game at 1-1 when Marissa Covarrubias took a long ball from Ferriera and beat the Pirate keeper to spark the offense.
The teams were even through the next 25 minutes when Saddleback broke up the tie in the 71st minute. Natally Gomez (pictured) blasted home her first goal of the season off a pass from Samantha Belmonte, breaking a season-long drought after leading the Gauchos in goals last season.
Saddleback wasted no time in getting an insurance goal when Belmonte put one in the net off a pass from Yasaman Zarea in the 80th minute for a 3-1 lead. It was Belmonte's third goal of the season, and first since scoring against Golden West in September.
Saddleback held on for the win despite being outshot 22-11 for the game. Ferriera finished with 10 saves for the game in picking up the win in goal.
Saddleback finishes the regular season 9-6-5 overall and 6-6-4 in Orange Empire Conference play. The win momentarily moved Saddleback into 22nd place in the power points race with 19 programs qualifying for the playoffs. With some of the teams in front of them still having games to finish, some movement is possible. Keep it tuned to saddlebackgauchos.com or follow us on Twitter at @SCGauchos in case of any breaking playoff news.