Coach Chucky Roth’s SBCC women’s water polo team is headed back to the California Community College State Championships for the fifth time im six years.

The Vaqueros advanced by finishing as runners-up at the SoCal Regionals over the weekend at Long Beach. They lost 10-9 in the championship game against Orange Coast.

SBCC defeated Mt. SAC, 15-7, and Fullerton, 11-6, to reach the final.

Emily Lopez recorded at hat trick in the opening win against Mt. SAC. She recently signed a letter of intent with Cal Baptist.

In the win over Fulleron, UCSB signee Ava Donleavy made 10 saves in goal, while Jenna Olson scored four goals and Claire Daland added three to pace the offense.

SBCC had lost three times to Fullerton during the regular season.

In the final, Gabrielle Muehring scored early in the fourth period to give SBCC an 8-7 lead. But Orange Coast answered with three straight goals. Lopez pulled the Vaqueros to within one with 3:35 left, but the Pirates held on for the win.

SBCC is seeded second for the state tournament and will open against defending champion West Valley on Friday at Southwestern College in San Diego. The teams met for the title last year.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.