The Saddleback women's soccer team won its fourth straight game with a 4-1 win at Orange Coast College on Friday. The late-season streak has the Gauchos on the verge of a playoff berth.
Saddleback started slowly but quickly got things turned around on Friday. Orange Coast scored the opening goal of the game in the 21st minute to take a 1-0 lead before Saddleback bounced back with three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead into the locker room at the half.
Paige Vitolo tied the game with her team-leading 12th goal of the season in the 25th minute when she beat OCC keeper Bryana Esparza for a 1-1 tie. Less than two minutes later, Abby Hazen put the Gauchos ahead for good when she tallied her second goal of the season off a pass from Chloe Deveze for a 2-1 lead. Saddleback then added a late goal from Shelby Burris in the 44th minute when she redirected a pass from Alyssa Stapinski into the goal for a 3-1 lead.
Saddleback put the game out of reach in the 64th minute when Vitolo connected for her second goal of the game and 13th of the season off a pass from Maliyah Medley for a 4-1 lead.
Saddleback completely shut down the Orange Coast offense throughout the game, allowing just the one shot on goal in the opening half. Lehar Chawla played the entire 90 minutes in goal for the Gauchos.
Saddleback is now 10-4-4 overall and 7-2-3 in Orange Empire Conference play. The Gauchos are currently in third place and one point behind second place Santiago Canyon College.
Saddleback currently sits at No. 14 in Southern California in the power points. With 19 programs making the playoffs, they would seem a likely bet to qualify for the playoffs when the coaches convene next Sunday to determine the playoff seeds.
Saddleback will look for a fifth straight win when they host Irvine Valley College next Tuesday at the OC Great Park in Irvine. The Gauchos and Lasers are scheduled to start at 3:00 PM.