The Saddleback men's water polo team advanced to the Orange Empire Conference Finals with a 13-10 win against Orange Coast College on Friday in Costa Mesa. It was the 25th win of the season for Saddleback, which ranks third in program history.
Saddleback and Orange Coast were tied 1-1 entering the second quarter when OCC scored a goal in the opening two minutes of the second quarter for a 2-1 lead. It was the last time the Pirates would see a lead as Saddleback went on an 8-2 run over the next 7.5 minutes to take a 9-4 lead early in the third quarter. Alec Abrahamian and Alec Isaacman were the catalysts, scoring three goals apiece during the run.
Orange Coast made a comeback, scoring four straight goals in the third quarter to cut the lead to 9-8. From that point forward it was a tight contest. The Pirates again got within one midway through the fourth quarter when Aria Shahzad-Ghajar scored to pull Orange Coast within one at 11-10. The Bobcats again responded as Spencer Sellwood and Jack Stevens scored in the final two minutes to put the game out of reach.
Isaacman would finish with three goals and five assists to lead Saddleback's offense. The freshman from Woodbridge High School now has 56 goals on the season, trailing only Andrew Barnuevo (83) and Jack Stevens (70) for the team lead.
Saddleback (25-5) now advances to the OEC Finals on Saturday where it will meet Golden West College (22-2). The Bobcats and Rustlers are scheduled to start at 1:50 PM at Orange Coast College (host site).
With the win, Saddleback is now 25-5 overall for the year. The 25 wins ranks third in program history behind only the 1998 (28) and 1997 (26) teams.