Saddleback plays uneasy after the 45-minute mark, still win over Santa Ana

 Gauchos freshman forward Emilee Monnig (No. 4, red) gets the ball up over the defense in action. (Dominic Ebel/Lariat)

Gauchos freshman forward Emilee Monnig (No. 4, red) gets the ball up over a Santiago Canyon College defender in action. (Dominic Ebel/Lariat)

Saddleback College’s home game was defended well at their stadium. Santa Ana hung in the game well against the higher seeded Gauchos, keeping the game close in the 2-0 finish. The Gauchos already had two goals at the 45 minute halfway point. They were seeking another goal at the 55 minute mark, being unlucky to execute.

It starts on defense with freshman center defensemen Rachel Edelstein who was playing through the unfocused referee on the calls he wasn’t making. She excels in her play when she’s mad. Once the Gauchos defense connected their passes to the midfielders, they went on an offensive run, getting strikes on goal.

“I like playing with Edelstein pumping us up, making sure where we are placed on the field,” freshman midfielder Jordan Carrillo said. “So, she is really good at directing us and marking players up.”

The Gauchos set out to get out early in this game, battling the Dons for every possession. Once sophomore midfielder Danielle Scelsi started to send the ball to her play makers at the wings, they set-up shots on their opponent’s goal.

Gauchos sophomore midfielder Danielle Scelsi gets the ball up over the defense in action. (Dominic Ebel/Lariat)

Gauchos sophomore midfielder Danielle Scelsi gets the ball up over the defense in action. (Dominic Ebel/Lariat)

“When we started sending the ball down field we really started to play well,” freshman midfielder Erika Garcia said. “So, we started to really connect passes together as a team”

The offensive player of the game was freshman forward Emilee Monnig, getting one assist and setting up her teammates for easy loose ball shots. One of those loose balls was picked up by freshman midfielder Breanna Taboada, who nailed a penalty kick for the second goal.

“She hits them as good as you can and she was awarded the other goal,” head coach BJ McNicol said. “She’s a quality player, it made the difference today.”

The Gauchos have been playing on the road battling for wins. They had a tough opponent prior to a loss to Chaffey College and they were defeated by Golden West, 2-1.

“In the Golden West game, we really worked hard, we were just unfortunate that we got unlucky,” Garcia said. “We came back and got one back.”

The Panthers were coming off their only loss to East LA College, so the Gauchos were going to have to do better than the 2-1 outcome. The Gauchos are slipping early on playing better against good teams.

“Chaffey was a really good team that we had a tough time matching up to,” Garcia said. “We came through and got one back.”

The Gauchos will have a tough time with the No. 1 team in the Orange Empire Conference, Santiago Canyon College, trying to get the win. Santiago is an undefeated 10-0-1 with the tie out of conference against San Bernardino College.

“It will be nice to be the underdog for a change,” McNicol said. “We probably have been the higher seed the majority of our games.”

Saddleback will meet with Santiago on Oct. 9 at 3 p.m. at home on the East Field.

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