Gauchos forward Madie Bigcas tracks down a loose ball and regains momentum against the Mustangs (Ally Beckwitt/Lariat)
The Saddleback women’s soccer team coasted to a 6-0 win against Norco College Tuesday at the Saddleback stadium.
Norco College was only able to field eight players for the whole game, while Saddleback had their full squad available. The lady Gauchos took full advantage, dominating possession and barraging the opposing the goalkeeper with a total of 42 shots for the whole game compared to four shots from the Mustangs.
The disadvantage in numbers quickly manifested itself on the field, which lead to an easy day for Saddleback. The Gauchos seemed to be everywhere, swarming any Mustang in a white shirt with at least two maroon shirts within 5 yards no matter where the ball was. The Mustangs struggled to keep possession of the ball for any amount of time, often getting one or two touches before being dispossessed or having their pass intercepted. Saddleback was much more physical on the ground and in the air, seemingly winning every aerial duel.
Due to the immense defensive pressure put on by the Gaucho defense, goalkeeper Dz-Rae Jara easily posted her fourth clean sheet of the season as Norco didn’t register a single shot on goal. Most of the action for Jara came from collecting back passes from her defenders or deep clears from the Mustangs.
Although they had a huge advantage, the Gauchos played rather sloppy in the final third, often playing passes too late or to the wrong player. The score line could’ve ended up looking a lot worse had the Gauchos stayed focused and made the most of their endless opportunities.
The first goal came in the ninth minute courtesy of Madie Bigcas. Collete Halloran made it 2-0 in the thirty ninth minute, and the Gauchos took the lead into halftime.
Although they had a comfortable lead, the players and staff weren’t completely satisfied.
“I think because it was pretty easy since we had the advantage, we weren’t as intense and that lead to us playing so sloppy and not trying as hard” Said Jessica Kron.
The Gauchos must’ve got the message during the intermission, scoring two minutes into the second half. The goal came from Britanny Kaufman who tapped in a pass across goal from Lily Woo. Woo recorded a second assist after setting up Marisa Covarrubias in the 50th minute to make it 4-0.
Due of the nature of the game, it gave head coach BJ McNicol a chance to rotate his players. He subbed off all of the starters early into the second half, giving them a chance to rest for their upcoming game against Fullerton College on Friday. McNicol was able to give game time to reserve players, which gave him a chance to assess the depth of his team.
As valiant as Norco College fought, eventually they began to tire and the reserves began to control the game much like the first team was able to do in the first half.
“Much respect to Norco, the score could’ve been a lot worse. It’s hard enough when you go down to 10 players because of a red card or whatever, but to only have eight players and play that hard is really tough and impressive” claimed Dz-Rae Jara.
Rebecca Zachary and Berkely DePrisco added two more goals in the 55 and 68 minute mark respectively to finish the result off. The Gauchos were easily able to see out the rest of the game and run off the clock.
“It was fun being able to cheer for our players who don’t play a whole lot, since they usually cheer for us. Everybody wanted to score one today since we had so many chances” Kron said.
Saddleback’s record now stands at 5-3-1 overall, and 2-3 in Orange Empire Conference play. Their next game is on Friday at Fullerton College at 3:00 pm.