The Saddleback women's beach volleyball team split its final regular season matches of the season at Irvine Valley College on Friday in Irvine. The Gauchos fell to IVC (0-5) before defeating Riverside City College, 4-1.
Saddleback knew the opening match would be tough, facing one of the top teams in the state. Irvine Valley's only losses on the season have come against four-year programs and they have lost only one game against California community college opponents all season. The Lasers didn't disappoint, winning all five matches 2-0.
Match two was a big match for the Gauchos, facing a Riverside City program batting with Saddleback for a potential playoff berth in the upcoming playoffs. The Gauchos were up to the task, defeating the Tigers 4-1 and making a case for the playoff committee.
Saddleback opened the team scoring on court five when the pair of Samantha Dougher and Serenity Broome raced past Morgan Spencer and Roni Lopez 21-17, 21-15 for a 1-0 lead. The Gauchos made it 2-0 after Jillian Hewitt and Ireland Ridill scored a 21-15, 21-17 win over Sadie Arganda and Telanni Childs on court two.
Saddleback's lead was cut to 2-1 after a loss on court four, meaning the Gauchos would need just one more win to clinch the team match. Saddleback then closed out the team match with a three-set win on court three when Samantha Senske and Kiana Camargo defeated Jasmine Urban and Patricia Brucks 19-21, 21-19, 17-15.
A similar trend played out on court one when Nickie Hughes and Ayla Fresenius battled back from a 17-21 loss in game one to defeat Natalie Escher and Vashti Elias-Romero in game two (21-13) to force a third and final game. The Gaucho tandem then raced to a 15-8 win in game three, closing out the match.
Saddleback will wait and see what happens with the playoffs as the playoff seeds are scheduled to be announced on Friday. The CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs consist of 12 teams playing at four different sites on April 30.