Hannah Hildebrand taps the ball into Golden West’s court during Wednesday’s game. (Rachel Schmid)
On Wednesday the Saddleback women’s volleyball team hosted the top-ranked Golden West Rustlers. The Gauchos maintained their energy throughout the game and were determined to give the Rustlers their best performance.
In the first set it seemed as if Golden West would be the clear winner when they overtook the Gauchos with the score of 25-10.
It appeared that the Gauchos would suffer a similar blow in the second set when the Rustlers had a lead of 16-4, but the Gauchos began connecting well with the ball and they rose to a tie of 16-16. The energy of the girls and crowd rose when the Gauchos overtook Golden West and won the set 25-23.
Tensions were high when the third set began, and the Gauchos looked worried when Golden West jumped ahead of them by four points. Despite this lead, the Gauchos and Rustlers tied at one point 12-12. Saddleback had a slight lead at 18-15, but it was the Rustlers who one the third set at 25-22 with a quick spike that the Gauchos were unable to reach fast enough.
Freshman Karina Rejtharek kept the team positive and upbeat throughout the game.
“We played really tough,” Rejtharek stated. “We had a lot of energy and it was fun. I feel like volleyball is a game of energy and staying positive.”
The Gauchos remained positive in the fourth set even though the Rustlers had a large lead in the scoreboard most of the period.
One 18-year-old freshman Mackenzie Kaus, felt the energy of her team throughout the game.
“We came out a lot more fired up then we usually are. I feel like that’s one of the things that got us going,” Kaus stated.
Golden West won the fourth set 25-16.
Gaucho’s Coach Carmen Stratton says her team has some issues to work on, but she was impressed overall with the way her team played Wednesday.
“I’m very proud of them. They played really hard and had really great defense. It always stinks losing. However, when your team leaves it on the floor, you can’t be upset about that. I feel like they showed a lot of heart tonight,” Stratton stated.
With this loss, the Saddleback Gauchos now have a record of 2-11 for the season and 0-4 for the Orange Empire Conference.
Their next home game is Friday Oct. 12 at 6 p.m against Riverside.