The Golden West College women's volleyball team wasn't in the mood to share Wednesday as the Rustlers beat host Saddleback in four games in an Orange Empire Conference match.
The victory gives Golden West (18-0, 11-0), the top-ranked team in the state, a two-match lead over No. 2 Saddleback (16-4, 9-2) with three left.
Golden West tied for the conference championship with Saddleback last season and Fullerton the year before.
Sophomore middle blocker Meghan Coolbaugh had a match-high 23 kills and Lori Daedelow, a freshman outside hitter, had 18 as Golden West won, 15-12, 15-2, 15-17, 15-5. Gina Stivers, a sophomore outside hitter, had 21 kills for Saddleback.
"We played not very well technically," Golden West Coach Albert Gasparian said, "but with some emotion and that was good."
The third game was the best in the match as Saddleback opened a 14-10 lead only to be caught at 14. It was also tied at 15 but the Gauchos won single points wrapped around four side outs to become the first team to win a game in conference against Golden West this season.
Golden West, which has won five consecutive state titles, had swept Saddleback in the first conference meeting and again in the Tournament of Champions. Saddleback then made it back to the tournament final through the losers' bracket only to lose in five games to the Rustlers.
"We haven't been pushed in a while," Gasparian said, "We [learned] we can't take our foot off the gas. As long as we keep playing hard, we're OK."