LONG BEACH, Calif. - The Saddleback women's volleyball team played its first matches against programs from California on Friday and earned a split in two matches at Long Beach City College. The Gauchos defeated the host Vikings before falling to El Camino.
Saddleback opened the season in Las Vegas last weekend against NJCAA programs and was anxious to get back into the Golden State to see how they would stack up against local competition. The Gauchos did just fine, splitting against two of the best teams from the South Coast Division, both of which were playoffs squads a year ago.
Saddleback opened against Long Beach City and managed a come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Vikings. Trailing two games to one, Saddleback rallied for a 25-20 win in game four and went on to a 15-10 win in game five against a program that finished 19-5 in 2016. Helena Lawson led the Gaucho attack recording 19 kills while Antonette Rolda led the team with 10 digs.
Saddleback fell to state runner-up El Camino 3-0 in the late match of the day. The Gauchos were facing a veteran Warrior team with a number of players from last year's state tournament team. Saddleback was tough in the opening game but fell in overtime, 27-25. The Gauchos then had a 14-11 lead in game two before El Camino scored 14 of the next 20 points to end the game on a big run. The Warriors then wrapped up the match with a 25-11 win in game three.
Saddleback is now 2-4 overall and 1-1 against teams from the CCCAA. The Gauchos will host Los Angeles Harbor College on Wednesday in their first home match of the year. The scheduled start time is 6:00 PM.