The Saddleback women's soccer team fought to a 1-1 tie against Cypress College on Tuesday at the OC Great Park in Irvine. The Gauchos scored a late goal in giving the Chargers their first blemish of the season.
Saddleback was looking to get off to a good start to the Orange Empire Conference schedule, but was playing a Cypress team that entered a perfect 6-0-0 on the season and ranked No. 3 in the state in the latest CCCSIA State Rankings. The Chargers looked the part in the opening minutes when Taleah Carter took a cross and beat Gaucho keeper Taylor Gayer for a goal in the third minute of the game.
Saddleback settled down from that point forward, outplaying Cypress for much of the remaining 42 minutes in the half. The Gauchos outshot the Chargers the rest of the way 4-3, including a 3-1 advantage in shots-on-goal.
Cypress came out of the locker room with renewed enthusiasm, putting pressure on the Saddleback defense over the first five minutes. The Chargers, however, weren't able to increase the lead as the game got a little chippy.
Saddleback continued to rotate new legs into the game in an attempt to wear out the Chargers. It eventually worked, as Maliyah Medley took a pass and streaked down the near sidelines before sending a cross into the box. The pass would land right on the foot of Alyssa Stapinski, who blasted it by the Charger keeper to tie the game at 1-1 in the 83rd minute.
Saddleback finished with a 10-9 advantage in total shots and a 6-4 advantage in shots-on goal.
Saddleback is now 3-2-2 overall and 0-0-1 in Orange Empire Conference play. The Chargers are 6-0-1, 0-0-1.
Saddleback will play again when they travel to Santa Ana College on Friday. The Gauchos and Dons are scheduled to start at 2:00 PM in Santa Ana.