Redlands Hosts Occidental in First Round of NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championships
On the heels of its record-setting regular season and inaugural Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) title, the University of Redlands women's lacrosse team gained a spot in the NCAA Championships as a host of a first-round match. The Bulldogs welcome familiar foe Occidental College to Farquhar Field on Wednesday, May 9, for a 7 p.m. showdown.
The winner of Wednesday's match heads to Salisbury, MD, to face either Christopher Newport University or Catholic University of America.
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Redlands makes its second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships following last year's at-large bid. Following a 13-game winning streak that lasted until April 22, the Bulldogs currently own a 15-1 overall record. The team made history when it notched the program's first-ever victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Feb. 18 and then repeated that effort on April 14.
Offensively, the Bulldogs boast a multi-faceted attack that includes seven players with 10 or more goals, five of which have scored at least 30. A pair of sophomore midfielders in Jacky Craycraft (Trabuco Canyon, CA) and KK McCaslin (Portland, OR) lead the charge, combining for 83 of the team's 259 goals on the season.
Three players are quickly approaching the 20-assist mark with senior attack player Blair Callaghan (Tacoma, WA) serving as the top play-maker with 19.
Senior Ana Martinez (Pleasanton, CA) patrols the Redlands net, accruing 966 minutes while making 110 saves on the season. Her goals-against-average of 9.01 ranks best in her three-year career with the Maroon and Gray.
Occidental enters the NCAA tournament for the first time in just its third season of varsity women's lacrosse. The Tigers posted a regular-season mark of 13-3 and recorded a 10-game winning streak that stretched from February 22 to April 11. All three of Occidental's losses came against the Bulldogs, as Redlands out-scored the Tigers by a 43-24 margin, with the closest tally of 10-7 coming in the SCIAC championship game on April 29.
Sarah Kessler heads up the Oxy offense with 55 goals en route to becoming the program's all-time leading scorer with 134. Six of her teammates backed her with double-digit efforts, with sophomore midfielder Tori Larson (Denver, CO) providing a close second with 52 goals.
Junior attack player Lauren Wemple (Needham, MA) serves as the team's ball-distributor, connecting on an impressive 27 assists.
Freshman goalkeeper Adrienne Ruth (Springfield, VA) shores up the Tigers' backline as the starter in all 16 games this year. With 95 saves, the rookie boasts a goals-against-average of 10.48.
Admission prices for Wednesday's game are $6 for adults, $3 for students and senior citizens, and $2 for children 3-12 years old.
The Bulldogs look forward to providing a live web stream of the game, which will be available through UStream at http://www.ustream.tv/bulldogathletics. Viewing is free for users.