COSTA MESA -- The Orange Coast College women's water polo team fell behind early, but a stingy defense sparked the Pirates to an 11-3 Orange Empire Conference win over visiting Cypress College on Wednesday.
The win evens the conference for the Pirates (2-2), while improving their overall record to 11-4. With the loss, the Chargers drop to 1-4 in conference, 8-12 overall.
Things started sluggish for the Pirates. After an early goal by Audrey Hung put Coast up 1-0, Cypress answered with three straight goals over the next 11 minutes to take a 3-1 advantage Jennifer Perciado scored first for Cypress before Sadie Bryan tacked on the final two goals for the Chargers.
Hung snapped OCC's 12-minute scoring drought when when she took a pass down low from Kaitlin Finney (four assists) and backhanded a shot past Cypress goalkeeper Hailey Church (six saves) to make it 3-2.
Less than a minute later, a big save from OCC's netminder Lindsey Richardson (six saves) helped set up a fast break for the Pirate offense as Finney dashed down the pool and fed Kellie Thorsness to found the back of the net to tie the match up at 3.
OCC took the lead for good when Thorsness stole a Cypress pass, swam the length of the pool and beat Church one-on-one to make it 4-3.
While the OCC offense found its spark as the contest wore on, the Chargers were completely shut down by the Pirate defense, who kept the guests off of the scoreboard the rest of the way.
Katelyn Hansen carried the Pirate offense in the second half with four goals, while Thorseness finished the afternoon with three goals and one assist.
The Pirates will return to action on Wednesday at home against rival Golden West, beginning at 3 p.m.