Bulldog Women’s Lacrosse Wins Berlin Open, Experiences Prague and Germany
The University of Redlands women's lacrosse team extended the success of the 2012 season by embarking upon a nine-day trip to Berlin and Prague in early June. Head Coach Suzette Soboti and 18 members of her Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship squad represented their program, university, and community well by capturing the Berlin Open title with solid showings against a variety of teams.
After a three-year fundraising process, the Bulldogs departed for Berlin on June 5. The players primarily paid their own way but the team also utilized money from the Bulldog Bench, which is the University's athletic booster club, and earned funds from the sale of Redlands flip-flops.
The players met in New York to travel to Berlin together for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"Berlin is a very large city with a lot of history for our players to experience," commented Soboti.
The squad explored the Berlin Wall Memorial and benefitted from a guided bus tour on their first full day in the country.
Aside from the excitement of touring a new city, Redlands players got right down to business during the Berlin Open, which included national teams, squads of American collegiate players, and various club programs.
After three games in pool play, the Bulldogs landed in the quarterfinal against LCC Radotin, a team from the Czech Republic that had obviously trained together. While the sport of women's lacrosse continues to develop in Europe, many of the teams had talented players but had little time to prepare before trying to compete on this international scene.
"LCC Radotin impressed me the most," Soboti added. "This squad will likely represent their country at the next World Cup."
With a 10-6 decision, Redlands moved onto the semifinal against Team Germany, which had forced the Bulldogs' only non-victory during the tournament with a 7-7 tie in pool play.
During their second meeting, the Maroon and Gray stepped up to the challenge against the national team with an 11-8 win for a spot in the final.
Against Global Players, a squad made up of NCAA Division I and II competitors who may not have the opportunity to study abroad during the academic year, the Bulldogs clinched the tournament title with a 7-5 showing in a great match.
"This tournament was more physical, the refs were more relaxed and let the game just flow," Soboti stated. "This was a great experience for our team and replicated what we saw against Catholic during the 2012 NCAA Championships."
Overall, the competition was good for the Bulldogs, contributing to the future success of the program as Redlands looks forward to continuing the momentum of its historical 16-2 season.
"This was totally worth the effort for us. All of our freshmen went on the trip and we were able to use a liberal substitution rotation. For those who may not have played as much during the season, they gained a lot of experience at this tournament," said Soboti.
Once the championship medals had been distributed to the Bulldogs, the squad took a four-hour train ride to Prague and enjoyed all that this smaller city had to offer. In addition to the humbling and important experience of visiting Terezin Memorial, a former concentration camp, it provided a beautiful setting of castles, amazing scenery, and much more. During their two day excursion, the Bulldogs toured Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the Old Town.
"We represented the University of Redlands and our country really well," Soboti commented. "We played well, won the tournament, and had some fun together. Traveling like this really brings the team together. It was especially nice for our eight seniors to finish out their outstanding careers at Redlands with this trip."