Wednesday afternoon the Saddleback women’s Water Polo team (1-9, 0-3) played host to the Fullerton Hornets (9-1, 1-1).
The Hornets defense was quickly put on its heels as Melissa Klaeb started the scoring for Saddleback. Shortly after Sarah Tennis fired her own goal past the Fullerton net-minder for a quick 2-1 Saddleback lead. Not wasting time, the Hornets offense jumped to life scoring three unanswered goals before being interrupted by Tennis’ second goal of the half.
With the first quarter expired, and the second starting, Saddleback looked to get back in control. A couple saves early in the quarter by Tiffany Grey kept the Gauchos alive, but only temporarily. Saddleback was penalized several times in the second quarter, and Fullerton capitalized taking the score to 9-3 before Saddleback could regroup. Fullerton had scored six unanswered goals before Shelby Schmidt added herself to the short list of Gaucho goal scorers.
The score was 9-4 Fullerton lead going into the third quarter, when things got ugly for the Gauchos. Fullerton scored three quick goals to start the quarter before Coach Jennifer Higginson called for a time out. Fullerton quickly went back to work following the timeout, scoring another five goals before Saddleback called for another time out. The score was now 18-4 and the Gauchos were exhausted, while Fullerton continued to add fresh players thanks to their larger roster. As the final seconds expired, Fullerton claimed victory by a final score of 24-7.
When asked later about their efforts during the game Sophomore Shelby Schmidt said, “They’re a tough team, and I thought we played hard to the very end, but realistically, we need more players on our bench to give some of our girls a rest.”
Schmidt said that the team needs to stay positive and learn from the loss. “The biggest takeaway from this game would be to just move on, and learn from the mistakes we made,” Schmidt said. “This is a new team, and new teams do take time to meld together.”
Saddleback’s next game is Wednesday against Golden West, and then they travel to Modesto for a two-day tournament on Friday and Saturday.