HUNTINGTON BEACH -- The Orange Coast College women's water polo team earned a trip to the Southern California Regionals after claiming third place at last weekend's Orange Empire Conference Championships.
The Pirates (13-12) kicked off the OEC tourney with an 8-6 win over Saddleback. Coast led 6-1 through three periods before holding off a furious comeback attempt by the Gauchos in the fourth.
The win pushed the Pirates into a semifinal matchup with top-seeded Fullerton. Coast hung tough in the first half and trailed by just two goals (6-4) before eventually falling to the Hornets, 13-5. Hansen and Babb each had two goals for Coast, while Kestlyn Hickey chipped in one goal.
The loss sent the Pirates into the third-place game against rival Golden West. Coast used a strong second half to double-up the host Rustlers, 10-5. Both teams went scoreless in the first period and GWC held a 3-2 advantage at the half, before Coast turned things on, outscoring the Rustlers 8-2 the rest of the way.
Hansen led all scorers with four goals. Clayfield chipped in three, Babb added two and Sierra McQuivey tossed in one for the Pirates.
Coast will enter this weekend's Southern California Regional Championships as the No. 8 seed and will take on ninth-seed Golden West on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. at Citrus College.