Saddleback College men’s water polo team executed a win at hosts Santa Ana College 16-8. (Denisse Hobson)
Saddleback College men’s water polo team executed a win on Oct. 26 against host Santa Ana College. The Gauchos left with a final score of 16 goals in their favor, whilst the opposition scoring only eight.
The first quarter of the game, Saddleback’s starting seven players in water, showed an effortless finesse to exchange the ball all across the pool. Although the team may have been down into the first quarter with Santa Ana scoring three, Saddleback reacted by putting four in the goal as well. Sophomore defender Kai Duty scored into the goal with 4:01 left, showing a solo effort as he pushed through with no defenders on him.
Goalkeeper Riley Webber leapt out of the water with 3:05 left, stopping Santa Ana from further scoring. With 2:33 left of the first quarter a foul was called against Santa Ana, in which Saddleback wasted no time, as they quickly showed team effort to get the ball to Sophomore Jacob Smith to shoot into goal to score. Following, leading scorer of the season utility player Max Gonter scored as he was able to shoot without much opposing defense on him with 1:56 left, and again with only 42 seconds left of the game.
Following the success of the first quarter, the Gauchos made substitutions switching out their goalkeeper Riley Webber for Freshmen Jayden Leacock.
Early on Max Gonter gave Santa Ana problems when he shot 30 seconds into the second quarter, missing hitting the post. Set player Spencer Perkins threw the ball which skidded across hitting the edge of the post with 5:50 left. Freshmen Austin Hoff scored the first goal from across the middle of the pool with 4:23 left. After a deflection from the left side of Santa Ana’s goal post, shot by Max Gonter, Jacob Smith tried, but Santa Ana’s goalkeeper made the save. With 3:21 seconds left Spencer Perkins scored from the half of the pool. Following Jacob Smith also scored after multiple passes from teammates to solidify the third goal of the second quarter from the right side of the pool with 1:33 left.
Finally with only 30 seconds left, Austin Warren lifted his body out of the water to score, leaving Saddleback at a comfortable eight goal lead.
A goal by Spencer Perkins with 5:05 remaining, into the third quarter, occurred after passing from Kai Duty and Jack Dyer. Gaucho Max Gonter once again scored with 4:12 left after a foul was called on Santa Ana. Santa Ana Don’s pressured goalkeeper Gaucho’s Jayden Leacock with 1:30 remaining, but was able to deflect the multiple shots fired at him. Later Gonter would punish the Don’s with a goal only 3:13 remaining on the clock, and again at 54 seconds. Finishing off strong the third quarter with one second left, freshmen Nate Cunningham scored, leaving the scoreboard 13 Saddleback, and six Santa Ana.
The men’s water polo team scored only three in the last quarter of the game with goals from field player freshman Darian Primer early on with 6:01 left. Later Saddleback goalkeeper Jeffrey Rebrukh would save a penalty from Santa Ana, saving the Gauchos from conceding. The Gauchos utility player Edward Montgomery added two goals to his stats, with them at 4:11 and 3:17 left of the last quarter to solidify the men’s water polo victory against Santa Ana College.
Head Coach Pat Higginson was pleased his team gained another victory, moving the men’s water polo team closer up in the Orange Empire Conference.
“I’m happy with the guys, we had a slow start but they finally put it together. Most importantly the second string of my team really did a good job,” said Pat Higginson head coach.
Saddleback players were also content with their win against Santa Ana College.
“We had a slow start and then we came out strong in the second half, a rocky first quarter,” said Austin Warren, sophomore biology major.
“We didn’t really have a good feel for the game at first starting off slow, and once we warmed up we did a lot better. Hopefully we can do something with conference and make it to SoCal this season and maybe even state,” said Max Gonter, freshman, political science major.