Saddleback freshman Morgan Kavanaugh earned first-team all-conference recognition and sophomore libero Rachel Talafus earned Honorable Mention status when balloting by the coaches was announced this week.
Kavanaugh led the conference by averaging 1.3 blocks per game and her 63 total blocks also led the conference. She also ended up third in the conference in hitting percentage (.329) and was eighth in the conference in kills, averaging 3.0 kills per game.
Talafus was fourth in the conference in defensive digs, averaging 5.1 digs per game. She was also one of the conference's top dig leaders on the entire season, posting 361 digs in 76 games (4.8 per game).
The Gauchos tied for seventh in the conference standings.
The Saddleback women's volleyball team finished out the 2009 season with a four-set loss to Fullerton at home on Wednesday night, 26-24, 14-25, 25-20, 25-20.
It was sophomore night and Saddleback's four sophomores were honored before the match. Two-year players Rachel Talafus, Alicia Dishno, and Amber Smith along with sophomore transfer Denielle Espejo (Lewis & Clark College) capped off their Saddleback careers and it looked like their enthusiasm would carry the Gauchos to victory. Saddleback held a 23-21 lead in the first set but allowed Fullerton back into the set at 23-23 and the Hornets scored the final three points to win the set, 26-24.
Saddleback was able to get a little momentum going early in the second set and rolled to an easy 25-14 win. But the Gauchos couldn't keep that intensity up later in the match and dropped the next two sets by identical 25-20 scores.
Freshmen Morgan Kavanaugh and Melissa Chavez each tallied 14 kills for the Gauchos, with Kavanaugh adding nine blocks. Talafus ended with 29 defensive digs while Espejo added 27 assists and 10 digs. Freshman Jackie Oda came off the bench to record three service aces.
Golden West was able to get past Saddleback in three games during an Orange Empire Conference women’s volleyball match Wednesday night, 26-24, 25-20, 25-17.
The Rustlers (13-8 overall, 6-6 in OEC) jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the first game before Saddleback (3-14, 1-11) came roaring back to hold a 23-21 advantage late in the game but, after knotting the score at 24-24, Golden West was able to get the final two points to win 26-24.
Golden West got out to an 11-4 lead in the second game and held a 20-12 advantage before Saddleback cut its deficit to 22-18. Again, the Rustlers were able to stop the comeback by tallying the final points to win 25-20.
The third game was much of the same as Golden West built a 17-7 lead before Saddleback started its comeback. This time there was too much of an early deficit and the Gauchos could never get within striking distance before falling 25-17 as Golden West swept the match.
Morgan Kavanaugh (Dana Hills HS) led Saddleback with 11 kills and no attack errors. She also had four solo blocks and one assisted block.
It was expected to be a close match and lived up to its billing as Saddleback defeated Santa Ana in an Orange Empire Conference women's volleyball match Friday night, 17-25, 27-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-10.
Morgan Kavanaugh tallied 23 kills, 14 digs, and posted three solo blocks to lead Saddleback to its first conference victory of the season and snap a 13-match skid. Melissa Chavez added 19 kills while Amber Murrietta (pictured), getting her first start at setter, accounted for 51 assists. Libero Rachel Talafus had 32 defensive digs and Chelsea Shea added four service aces.
Saddleback was down by four points (20-16) before coming back to win game two and Santa Ana was down by four points (21-17) before bouncing back to win game three. Saddleback jumped out to a 23-11 lead in game four and held on for a 25-18 victory to send the match into a fifth game. The Gauchos pulled out to an 8-4 lead, changed sides of the court and then built a 14-8 advantage before finally getting match point at 15-10.
Saddleback hosts Golden West College on Wednesday, November 11, starting at 6:00 pm in the campus gym.
The women's volleyball team dropped three straight games to Cypress on Friday night, falling 25-22, 25-20, 25-10.
Morgan Kavanaugh (left) had 10 kills for the Gauchos while Melissa Chavez added nine but it wouldn't be enough to offset the hitting of the Chargers. Cypress arrived late for warmups and had little pre-game time on the court. But the Chargers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first game. Once Saddleback tied the score at 4's, the Chargers went on another 4-0 run. Saddleback fought back to tie the score several times, including at 21-21, but could never take a lead in the game and fell 25-22.
The Gauchos managed to get out to a 10-5 lead in the second game before Cypress went on a 9-2 run to take the lead. Saddleback closed within one at 17-16 but strong serving by the Chargers helped them win the second game down the stretch, 25-20.
Saddleback will visit Irvine Valley on Wednesday (Nov. 4) for a 6:00 p.m. volleyball match as a part of the Battle for the Irons between the two district schools.
Saddleback had a lead in three of the four volleyball games against Riverside on Wednesday night, but could only hold on to one of those leads as the Gauchos (2-9, 0-6) fell to the Tigers 25-15, 18-25, 26-24, 25-22 to remain winless in Orange Empire Conference play.
Riverside came out strong in the first game and rolled to a 25-15 victory before Saddleback was even warmed up. But the Gauchos returned the favor in game two, edging out to a 20-15 lead and pushing through for a 25-18 win to even the match. Saddleback trailed 19-16 in game three before stringing together five straight points to take a 21-19 lead before Riverside regained the lead with four straight points, 23-21. The Gauchos tied the score at 23's and again at 24's but couldn't get over the last hump and the Tigers snatched a victory with a 26-24 win. Saddleback would jump out to a 14-9 lead in game four before Riverside tied the score at 15-15. The Tigers went on to build a 22-18 lead but Saddleback pecked away to cut the deficit to 23-21. But the teams started trading points from that point and Riverside held on to win game four and the match, 25-22.
Morgan Kavanaugh tallied 16 kills and added two blocks for Saddleback while Melissa Chavez added 13 kills. Setter Denielle Espejo distributed 35 assists and came up with 12 digs on defense while Rachel Talafus led the defense with 16 digs while also accounting for three service aces.
The game was broadcast live via streaming video over the internet on the Gaucho Sports Network as Saddleback expands its coverage of home athletic events, bringing quality athletic events into homes across the planet.
It was the intradistrict rivalry. It was the Battle for the Irons. It was the largest crowd on hand since Saddleback's 1998 state tournament runner-up finish. But it all went Irvine Valley's way after the first game in a three game sweep of the Gauchos, 25-17, 25-14, 25-11.
Both teams came out firing on offense and digging on defense in game one and the score was tied at 16-16 before IVC found a couple of strong servers in its rotation and outdistanced the Gauchos down the stretch by a 9-1 count for the 25-17 win. The Lasers opened up a 13-7 lead in game two that built into a 22-10 lead before ending in favor of IVC, 25-14. Although the third game was tied at 6-6, Irvine took the lead and built it into a 12-8 advantage before finding the right rotation to end the match with a 25-11 win.
"Saddleback's team is so much more improved, and it really showed in that close first game," IVC coach Tom Pestolesi said about his Gaucho opponents. "I think we played the best that we have all season in games two and three."
Saddleback was led offensively by Melissa Chavez (11 kills) and Courtney Spitz (7 kills) while Denielle Espejo had 15 assists and 11 defensive digs.
MISSION VIEJO – It was the start of the tough Orange Empire Conference in women’s community college volleyball action on Friday and, despite playing better than it had earlier in the week, Saddleback still dropped a hard-fought 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 decision to visiting Orange Coast College.
“Small steps forward,” Saddleback coach Carmen Stratton said. “We’re disappointed with the loss, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
After leading 8-6 early, Saddleback trailed by a pair of points for the remainder of the first game until it knotted the score at 23-23. But Orange Coast (7-0) would not allow the Gauchos to grab the momentum and edged out a 25-23 win. Saddleback would lead by two points for parts of the second game before Orange Coast tied the score at 19-19 and then capitalized on a couple of errant Saddleback passes to quickly post a 25-20 win in game two. The third game was tied at 12’s, 15’s, 16’s, and 18’s before Orange Coast grabbed a slight lead. Saddleback’s comeback came within one point, 22-21, before the Pirates were able to close out the match, 25-22.
Melissa Chavez had eight kills and 10 defensive digs for Saddleback while libero Rachel Talafus added 15 digs. Morgan Kavanaugh (pictured) posted seven solo blocks and also added seven kills.
Saddleback’s return home after a four match road trip was not as welcoming as the Gauchos had hoped for and the team fell to visiting San Diego Mesa College in four games (25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 25-14).
The first three games were tightly contested with the two teams trading victories in games one and two before San Diego Mesa edged out to take game three. The Olympians then put up six straight points behind solid serving from Kelsey Magness to open up a 17-5 lead and maintained that cushion for the remainder of the game to win game four and the match.
Saddleback was led offensively by Melissa Chavez (Capistrano Valley HS) with 13 kills. Rachel Talafus (left, San Clemente HS) had 23 defensive digs while Christina Licciardi (Capistrano Valley HS) added 11 digs. Setter Denielle Espejo was credited with 26 assists.
Conference play for both teams begins on Friday, October 2. The Gauchos (2-3) will host Orange Coast College at 6:00 pm in the campus gym.
The women’s volleyball team is out of the game quickly at 2-0 and the most recent win was a 3-0 decision over Grossmont College. Freshman Morgan Kavanaugh led the Gauchos with 15 kills as Saddleback won 25-21, 25-23 and 25-20.
Kavanaugh (pictured) finished with 15 kills in 27 attempts while freshman Melissa Chavez finished with 11 kills. The Gauchos were also gritty on defense as sophomore Rachel Talafus and freshman Christina Licciardi finished with 14 and 12 digs respectively.
Saddleback improved to 2-0 on the season and will play next in the Santa Ana College Tournament this coming Saturday.
Saddleback defeated Southwestern College, 3-1, to open up its 2009 women’s volleyball campaign Wednesday night at home.
After a sluggish start in the first game which saw the Gauchos fall 25-16, the team picked up the intensity in the second game and jumped out to a 6-1 lead to answer back with a 25-16 win in game number two. That momentum carried over into the third game and most of the fourth game before Southwestern started to battle back from a 20-11 deficit. After the Jaguars tied the score at 23-23 Saddleback was able to get a point on a side out and then finished the match, 25-23.
The Gauchos received 14 kills from Melissa Chavez (Capistrano Valley HS) and 34 assists from Denielle Espejo (Capistrano Valley HS) while Morgan Kavanaugh (Dana Hills HS) had three solo blocks. Defensively, Christina Licciardi (Capistrano Valley HS) had 15 digs while Rachel Talafus (San Clemente HS) added 13 digs.