RIVERSIDE — The SBCC women’s water polo team had a great first day at the RCC Tournament, winning its conference opener over Citrus 19-9 before coming back to beat a very good Orange Coast team 12-10.

The Vaqueros are now out to a 5-1 start, making it seven straight seasons that they’ve won at least five of their first six games.

SBCC 12, Orange Coast 10

Last year, there were only two teams in the state that beat the Vaqueros, and Orange Coast (5-2) was one of them. The Pirates needed overtime to defeat SBCC at the 2021 RCC Tournament 8-7 and earned another one-goal win 11-10 a month later.

On Friday, despite conceding the first three goals of the game, the Vaqueros would get their revenge.

Sophomore attacker Eden Tal got things started with her first of four goals in the first quarter. She capped a 4-0 scoring run in the second quarter to give SBCC its first lead of the day, 5-4.

Sophomore Jenna Olson scored two straight to end the half as SBCC went into the break leading 7-6. Freshman Claire Daland had a big third quarter, scoring twice to give the Vaqueros a 10-7 advantage heading into the final frame.

The Pirates would fight back to make it a one-goal game with 1:13 remaining, but Tal provided the final dagger 20 seconds later to seal the 12-10 victory.

Goalkeeper Ava Donleavy got the start and finished with three saves. Chloe McKay entered for the final two periods and had a big five saves while giving up only four goals over the final 16 minutes.

SBCC 19, Riverside 9

Santa Barbara enjoyed a very balanced offensive attack in its first game of the day, as six Vaqueros had multi-goal efforts and five recorded hat tricks.

Olson notched her fourth consecutive three-goal game, while Tal also recorded her fourth in five games this season. Daland, Kara Hughes and Bella Straley all finished with their second hat trick of the year. Sophomore Emily Lopez did so for the first time in her Vaquero career.

In this one, it was SBCC that jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Vaqueros took control midway through the game with seven unanswered goals to go up 12-4 midway through the third. The lead grew to as larage as 11 goals in the fourth quarter as SBCC cruised to the win.

McKay had a save and three steals as she earned the win. Donleavy finished with six saves, a steal and an assist.

The Vaqueros open day two of the tournament on Saturday with an early 7:45 a.m. game against host RCC. They will close the weekend out against Golden West at 12:25 p.m.