COSTA MESA -- It was another strong effort by the Orange Coast College women's water polo team on Wednesday but in the end, the Pirates came up short to visiting Saddleback, 15-9, in an Orange Empire Conference matchup.
OCC hung tough with the Gauchos and evened the match at 4-4 midway through the second quarter after falling behind 4-1 early on. Two goals by Nikki Schmidt and a pair of tallies by Hannah Fonacier helped pull the Pirates even and when Mailani Wendt found the back of the net with 3:38 left in the second quarter, Coast again evened the match with Saddleback at 5.
But the Gauchos (8-7, 1-2 in conference) scored eight of the next nine goals over the middle two quarters to pull away from the shorthanded Pirates.
Wendt and Gabby Covarrubias also scored two goals for OCC, while Allison Williams added single goal for the hosts. In goal, Melyssa Costa came up with seven saves for Coast, while Saddleback's Keleen Pelfrey stopped nine.
Also for the Gauchos, Maddie Choi and Hylah Prussak each scored four goals, while Tori Higginson added three.
OCC will return to action on Wednesday at Fullerton College, beginning at 3 p.m.