Saddleback men’s water polo ends their season in defeat

The official 2015 lineup of the men's water polo team which played during the Orange Empire Conference Championships. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Higginson.)

The official 2015 lineup of the men’s water polo team which played during the Orange Empire Conference Championships. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Higginson.)

The men’s water polo team at Saddleback College has ended their season due to being unable to advance in the Orange Empire Conference Championships.

Playing against the Fullerton College Hornets Friday at Riverside City College, Saddleback was unable to counter the strong playing style of their opponents.

Saddleback began strong and were able to score one point. Fullerton though, capitalizing on a bad pass, enabled them to score a goal of their own. Despite an ejection foul, Fullerton was able to take the quarter by scoring an additional two goals.

The second quarter saw Fullerton take advantage of ejection fouls to transfer them into goals. Fullerton scored an additional six goals and employed a strong defense against Saddleback that only saw the team earn two goals.

Saddleback attempted to fight back by utilizing a strong defensive strategy coupled with noticeably strong efforts by their team captain, Maxx Matshushima. Offensive efforts came up short due to the team being unable to follow through on many opportunities to score. Fullerton came back netting an additional three goals and Saddleback only scoring one.

Fullerton’s strong offensive resulted in the team earning five goals in the final quarter. Saddleback, in a last ditch attempt to seize the game, continued to employ a strong defense mixed with a bold offensive that helped them to win three goals.

At the end of the final quarter, Fullerton took the game with 17 points. Saddleback College, only possessing nine points, was defeated.

The loss eliminated Saddleback from the tournament. Furthermore, the defeat also officially ends their season.

Patrick Higginson, the head coach of the team, admitted the defeat of Saddleback is owed to the stronger strategy and efforts employed by Fullerton.

“Fullerton came out strong,” said Higginson. “They were able to capitalize on our fouls and convert the man up plays. The Saddleback players did a good job of staying focused and pushing through to the end of the game.”

Higginson says that this loss serves an invaluable lesson in how to help improve the men’s water polo team when they convene again for a new season next summer.

“This finish will be our motivation to train hard in the off season and focus on swim season,” said Higginson.