After trailing by as many as six goals, the University of Redlands women's lacrosse team rallied back to force overtime against the visiting Poets of Whittier College on Sunday. But their comeback efforts fell short, as the Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the 2012 season, which came in a 14-15 decision in double overtime during Senior Day at Farquhar Field.
The Poets came out firing as junior midfielder Carolyn Mukai (Northborough, MA) notched her first of a game-high five goals within the first minute of action.
With Redlands struggling to find its rhythm, Whittier built a 10-4 lead with 8:22 to go in the opening frame. Sophomore midfielder Shaina Denny (Seal Beach, CA) played an instrumental role in the Poets' success, rattling off three consecutive goals during this stretch.
Down by five to start the second stanza, the Bulldogs returned to the style of play that has been successful all year and put together an impressive comeback. Redlands opened the frame with a 5-1 run with the usual suspects of sophomore midfielder KK McCaslin (Portland, OR), senior attack player Ashley Finke (Austin, TX), junior attack player Aimee Dewan (Alamo, CA), and sophomore midfielder Jacky Craycraft (Trabuco Canyon, CA) finding the back of the net.
After Denny converted her fourth goal of the game for Whittier, the Maroon and Gray looked to junior midfielder Crystal Painter (Lake George, NY) to uncork back-to-back scores, tying it up for the first time since the 27:08-mark of the first period.
With neither team able to score in the final 1:36, the contest headed to overtime. Battling it out in a pair of three-minute overtime periods, the teams traded scores during the first mini-half, with Whittier converting with only seven seconds left on the clock.
Unfortunately for the Maroon and Gray, the momentum stayed with the Poets in the subsequent frame, as freshman midfielder Brooke Winslow (Lafayette, CA) came up with the game-winning goal with 1:13 to go. In addition, Whittier managed to possess the ball through the final ticks of the clock.
Leading the Bulldog offense, Dewan, Painter and Finke all scored a hat trick, while McCaslin chipped in two.
Senior goalkeeper Ana Martinez (Pleasanton, CA) provided a valiant effort between the pipes, making 12 saves for the Bulldogs, including a diving second-effort late in the game.
With Craycraft nabbing a game-high seven of them, Redlands won the draw-control battle with a 19-14 edge.
But Whittier controlled the free-position opportunities by posting a 6-for-10 performance, compared to the Bulldogs' 2-for-8 showing.
Prior to the game, Redlands honored the senior class of Martinez, Finke, attack player Blair Callaghan (Tacoma, WA), midfielder Erika Busch (West Linn, OR), midfielder Megan Prickett (Poway, CA), defender Rachel Haag (Newtown, PA), defender Anna Timberlake (Seattle, WA), and attack player Kali Wilgus (Portland, OR).
Despite the loss, Redlands (13-1, 7-1 SCIAC) remains the top seed for the upcoming SCIAC Championship Tournament, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Occidental College. Whittier (6-10, 2-6 SCIAC) gains the No. 4 seed and the right to host the play-in game against No. 5 Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to the semifinal round against the Bulldogs.