2011 Summary: UR Women’s Lacrosse Makes History during Exciting Season
With a talented and tenacious squad, the 2011 edition of Redlands women's lacrosse rattled off the program's best varsity record with a 13-5 showing, which propelled the Maroon and Gray into the NCAA Championships for the first time in its 13-year history. In addition, the squad gained various awards and accomplishments, complementing a season of firsts for the Bulldogs.
Redlands embarked upon this historical campaign with a 9-0 start showing against its counterparts from all around the country. During this stretch, the Bulldogs put up nearly 20 goals per game to rank among the elite in all of NCAA Division III.
The team kicked off the 2011 season with a 20-12 thrashing of Whittier College in the opening contest and inaugural Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) game of the year. After a tight first half, the Bulldogs erupted for 11 goals off of a total-team effort in the second stanza, securing the eventual win over the Poets.
During the team's Spring Break trip to Georgia and Tennessee, Redlands knocked off Berry College (GA) and Carthage College (WI) while holding these opponents to seven and nine goals, respectively. Against Berry, freshman midfielder KK McCaslin (Portland, OR) put an exclamation point on her second collegiate effort by recording four goals to lead all scorers.
The Bulldogs concluded their trip with a high-scoring affair against Sewanee in a critical showdown of evenly matched opponents. Despite the wet and windy conditions, Redlands overcame a five-goal deficit by rattling off 13 unanswered scores to take a commanding 22-14 lead with nearly 18 minutes left in the game. During this stretch, seven different Bulldogs found the back of the net, highlighted by sophomore midfielder Katie Colasurdo's (Eugene, OR) hat trick. The Maroon and Gray eventually prevailed by a score of 25-20, resetting the NCAA record for combined goals in a single game.
Back at the friendly confines of Farquhar Field, Redlands concluded its nine-game win streak with lopsided victories against Emerson College (MA), the University of Puget Sound (WA), Western New England University (MA), Denison University (OH) and Linfield College (OR). During this span of triumphs, the Bulldogs allowed as few as two goals but no more than 10 in any given game, revealing their commitment to defensive discipline and offensive possession.
During the final minute against WNEU, junior goalkeeper Ana Martinez (Pleasanton, CA) provided a heroic effort to prevent a late score by the Golden Bears, bringing the Bulldog fans to their feet. She finished with 11 saves, including seven in the second half.
Senior midfielder Christy Smith (St. Louis Park, MN) made the team's 19-9 performance over Denison even more memorable when she notched her 200th career goal en route to a seven-score explosion. This achievement solidified her spot at the top of the career scoring record at Redlands, out-performing the second-best Bulldog by 100 goals.
Junior defender Rachel Haag (Newtown, PA) recorded her first goal of the season and the second of her career, as she converted a free-position shot with less than five minutes to play against Linfield.
On March 30, the Bulldogs faced the end of their undefeated streak in what could be coined as the match of the season. Despite an impressive second-half surge, Redlands fell short in its comeback efforts against the Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, leading to the Maroon and Gray's first loss of the 2011 campaign. Down by as many as six goals, the Bulldogs rallied to within one but simply ran out of time and suffered a difficult 16-17 defeat. The freshman duo of midfielder Jacky Craycraft (Lake Forest, CA) and McCaslin stepped up offensively for the Bulldogs, combining for 12 of the team's 16 goals.
From here, Redlands worked to steady the ship during the remaining six conference dual matches and finished with a 5-3 showing in round-robin action. The Bulldogs recorded season sweeps over Whittier and Pomona-Pitzer Colleges but suffered a surprising split with an up-and-coming squad from Occidental College. However, the Maroon and Gray took care of business in the final regular-season tilt against the Tigers, opening with a four-goal lead that held up in the 16-10 victory.
During the team's two bouts against Pomona-Pitzer, which took place in a 10-day span, Redlands recorded a stream of individual season-high performances. On April 6, Martinez proved to be nearly impenetrable with 14 saves in a complete-game effort that finished with a 13-10 win. On April 16, sophomore attack player Aimee Dewan (Alamo, CA) poured on seven goals and one assist for eight points, while Craycraft nabbed nine draw controls in the Bulldogs' 21-16 victory.
Playing as the second seed in the SCIAC Tournament, Redlands faced a difficult 13-14 loss to third-seeded Pomona-Pitzer in triple overtime during the semifinal round.
For their stellar contributions during the conference season, the Bulldogs collected seven All-SCIAC awards, including Smith and Dewan on the First Team. Junior midfielder Megan Prickett (Poway, CA), sophomore attack player Crystal Painter (Lake George, NY), Colasurdo, Craycraft and Martinez garnered Second-Team laurels.
Despite the bitter end to the regular season, the Bulldogs learned the exciting news that they had earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships, making this the program's first-ever postseason appearance in its 13-year varsity existence. With a solid strength-of-schedule ranking, Redlands collected one of nine Pool-C spots to the 31-team tournament.
Redlands headed to nearby Claremont to face familiar foe CMS in the first round of NCAA competition. Despite the thrill of their inaugural postseason experience, the Bulldogs fell short of defeating the 16th-ranked Athenas, ending an inspiring season with an 11-19 loss.
Beyond the excitement of the team's achievements, the Maroon and Gray also celebrated various individual accomplishments, highlighted by Smith's fourth All-Region award with this year's Second-Team selection. Upon the conclusion of her final season with the Bulldogs, she owns virtually every offensive career record at Redlands, including goals (222), points (265), and draw controls (204). Despite playing with an injury throughout the 2011 campaign, she finished the year with 46 goals, including two game-winners, and 13 assists for 59 points. She provided 35 draw controls and 21 ground balls while forcing eight opponent turnovers on defense.
In addition, Dewan landed on the All-Region Second Team after serving as an offensive catalyst with a team-leading 56 goals, ranking her third all-time at Redlands for a single season. She also tallied eight assists for a total of 64 points. She stepped up with six game-winning goals while leading the Bulldogs to their first NCAA appearance. In addition, Dewan offered 17 ground balls and three caused turnovers.
The Bulldog women's lacrosse team concluded the 2011 season with a memorable list of accomplishments and moments that bode well for the future of the program. Although the void left by Smith's graduation is clearly substantial, the team looks forward to the continued development of the returning players as Head Coach Suzette Soboti provides unmatched leadership and motivation for them to build off of this year's historical run of events.