Water polo has tough go in home tournament

(Casie Nguyen)

Sherry Lucas

After a sixth place finish in its own tournament, the Saddleback College women’s water polo team hits the road this week.

The Gauchos play at Fullerton College today. Game time is 3 p.m.

Saddleback went 1-3 in its 15th annual invitational Saturday. The Gauchos lost to Chaffey, 11-9, Ventura, 11-9, and Grossmont, 8-5. Saddleback beat Southwestern, 9-8.

“It all depends on the other teams but I think we have a good chance based on that last game,” Coach Jennifer Higginson said. “We made a lot of improvements. We have a smaller team then the rest of them so that was a good indicator that we are in shape and prepared to play.”

Against Southwestern, Danielle Peeler scored the game-winning goal with 2.7 seconds left in the game. It was Peeler’s fifth goal of the game.

“It was one of those finishes that’s like a heroic finish,” Higginson said of the effort by Peeler.

Whitney Werner added two goals and Cheyenna McCartin and Sarah Chamberlin had one each. Freshman goalie Krista Mueller had 12 saves.

Peeler, a returning sophomore, is one to watch this year, according to Higginson. Peeler finished the tournament with 14 goals. Freshman Rena Phairojmahakij finished with five goals during the tournament. Freshman Cheyenna McCartin had three.Mueller had 60 saves by the end of the tournament, 21 in the game against Grossmont.

“The stats we have are impressive as we spread out the goals within the entire team,” Higginson said in an email. “Our goalie saves are quite impressive. As you can see we have a great goalie who had a super weekend, 21 saves in a big game is unheard of.”

Higginson is optimistic that the team will strengthen as a whole as the season progresses.

“Overall, with this team at the end of this season, all of us should be stronger,” she said. “Hopefully, there’s not going to be just one stand out.”

(Casie Nguyen)

(Casie Nguyen)