2012 Summary: Bulldog Women's Lacrosse Excels in Record-Breaking Season
With multiple milestones and exciting wins, the 2012 edition of University of Redlands women's lacrosse put together a season that will be remembered for many years to come. The squad etched its name in the Redlands history books by resetting numerous records and collecting various award during a phenomenal run to the second round of the NCAA Championships. While capturing the program's first-ever Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship, the Bulldogs also racked up the best overall record in the program's 14-year history at 16-2.
In what would prove to be a tone-setter for the rest of the season, the Bulldogs took down SCIAC foe Occidental College in the opening game of the 2012 campaign. After trailing by two early in the first half, Redlands rattled off 11 unanswered goals from a combined six players en route to a 13-7 victory. Sophomore midfielder Jacky Craycraft (Trabuco Canyon, CA) tallied three goals on three shots, while junior attacker Crystal Painter (Lake George, NY) found the back of the net on four occasions. Senior goalkeeper Ana Martinez (Pleasanton, CA) impressed as the team's last line of defense, notching nine saves in 60 minutes of work.
The Maroon and Gray traveled to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges with hopes of ending a 14-year losing skid to the Athenas. This night in February belonged to the Bulldogs, as they registered their inaugural win over CMS in an exciting 14-13 decision. In a back-and-forth game that saw Redlands take a one-goal lead into halftime, the tides turned on the Bulldogs during the second stanza as they faced a two-score deficit with 5:10 remaining on the clock. Craycraft initiated the comeback to pull Redlands within one, and less than 30 seconds later, senior midfielder Megan Prickett (Poway, CA) capped off her hat-trick performance to tie the contest at 13 apiece. In the final seconds of the game, Painter was awarded a free-position shot, and she made the most of opportunity by scoring her second game-winner of the young season en route to the historical win.
Riding high from the memorable triumph, Redlands returned home to the friendly confines of Farquhar Field and cruised past Pomona-Pitzer Colleges by a score of 18-9. The squad then traveled to Whittier College to notch another win in a 21-15 showing over the Poets. Martinez recorded a season-high 13 saves in the high-scoring match, posting double-digit numbers for the first time in 2012.
With 4-0 overall and SCIAC records, the Bulldogs traveled to the Pacific Northwest during Spring Break and continued to succeed in impressive fashion. Head Coach Suzette Soboti reached a coaching milestone as she garnered her 100th varsity women's lacrosse win in a 20-10 rout of the University of Puget Sound (WA). A well-rounded attack led the way in this outstanding victory, with 11 different goal-scorers finding the back of the net at least once. Senior attack player Ashley Finke (Austin, TX) as well as senior defender Anna Timberlake (Seattle, WA) each notched a goal for the Maroon and Gray, while senior attack player Blair Callaghan (Tacoma, WA) tallied two goals and an assist in front of her hometown crowd.
Two days later, Redlands dominated Pacific University (OR), holding the Boxers to only six goals while scoring 16. Sophomore midfielder KK McCaslin (Portland, OR) and freshman attack player Maggie Lehr (Kirkland, WA) each recorded two goals in the win. Defensively, junior midfielder Katie Colasurdo (Eugene, OR) tallied a pair of caused turnovers, while sophomore midfielder Allison Leipzig (Newton, MA) nabbed a team-high four ground balls. Before returning home, the Maroon and Gray finished out its road trip by scoring the second-most goals in a single game in program history when it smashed Linfield College (OR), 23-9.
Once back at familiar Farquhar Field, Redlands made quick work of Kenyon College (OH) in a 19-10 thrashing to remain undefeated on the season at 8-0. Four days later, the Bulldogs used a 9-2 halftime lead to ease past Sewanee (TN) by a score of 14-10. Prickett recorded four scores for her eighth consecutive multi-goal effort of the season.
On March 27, the squad welcomed MIT to town and preserved its undefeated season with a 13-3 trouncing of the Engineers. During "ALS Awareness Night," McCaslin exploded for four goals, while Callaghan added to her assist total with two on the night. Craycraft also helped the cause by nabbing six crucial draw controls, which was more than half of her team's total of 11.
At this point in the season, Redlands had already surpassed its program record of nine consecutive victories by winning 10 straight to open the 2012 campaign. In order to earn their 11th consecutive, the Bulldogs needed to travel to Pomona-Pitzer to take on the Sagehens in their second head-to-head tilt of the year. By halftime, the game was tied at 7-7, but the Maroon and Gray blew it wide open with five unanswered goals to start the second stanza. By the end of the game, the Bulldogs had turned a close game into a one-sided affair, winning by a solid score of 18-10. Painter, Craycraft, and junior attack player Aimee Dewan (Alamo, CA) all chipped in with hat tricks en route to the important SCIAC triumph.
Next up, the Maroon and Gray faced the Occidental College Tigers, who hadn't lost since they fell to Redlands in the opening game of the season. That would change when they came to play the Bulldogs for the second time, as the home team posted a 20-10 victory over the Tigers. Craycraft and McCaslin notched six goals each, while Painter grabbed a team-high seven draw controls in the win.
Extending their record-setting win streak to 13 games, the Maroon and Gray annihilated the visiting Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 16-4. It was the largest margin of victory the Bulldogs had ever tallied over the Athenas and only further solidified their still-perfect season. Sophomore attack player Allie Hoffler (Salt Lake City, UT) provided energy off the bench when she scored a goal in the huge victory over the Bulldogs' SCIAC rivals.
With only one game remaining before the SCIAC Championship Tournament, the Bulldogs slipped up to the Poets of Whittier College in double overtime, 15-14. While it did halt the bid for the perfect season, Redlands remained the top seed headed into regular-season finale.
In the semifinal game of the 2012 SCIAC Tournament, the Maroon and Gray trailed the Sagehens by a score of 1-3 midway through the opening period. The seemingly quiet offense responded in the second half by exploding for seven goals as opposed to the Sagehens' three, making the Bulldogs the victors by a 10-7 tally. With the triumph, Redlands tied the program record for wins in a season at 14, matching the feat originally accomplished by the team in 2000.
Redlands established the new program record for wins just one day later, taking down the Tigers of Occidental for a third time this season. The 10-7 win marked the Bulldogs' inaugural conference crown during the third season of SCIAC women's lacrosse. With the score tied at the half, Redlands rode an inspired effort all the way to the end of the game. The Maroon and Gray offense stayed consistent by notching five goals in the second half, while the defense became an almost impenetrable force, only allowing two goals.
It was announced just over a week later that Redlands was selected to host the first round of the NCAA Championships against a familiar foe in Occidental. In what would prove to be a very exciting game, the Bulldogs never trailed in the contest and held off a late comeback effort by the Tigers en route to earning the program's first-ever NCAA Championship victory. With possession coming at a premium in this win-or-go-home match, Painter came up huge for the Bulldogs by snagging seven draw controls while also tallying one caused turnover. McCaslin led Redlands in scoring with five goals on six shots.
With its16th win of the season under its belts, the Maroon and Gray traveled east to take on Catholic University of America (DC) in the second round of the NCAA Championships. Despite a valiant effort, the Bulldogs came up short against the Cardinals by a score of 10-17, bringing an end to a memorable season.
The Bulldogs collected eight All-SCIAC selections, which was the most for the program in the sport's three-year conference history. Prickett, Colasurdo, Martinez, Painter, Craycraft and McCaslin all garnered First-Team honors, while Dewan and senior defender Rachel Haag (Newton, PA) landed on the Second Team.
The awards continued to pour in as Prickett garnered Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) First-Team All-Region honors, and Craycraft, McCaslin, and Colasurdo each earned Second-Team All-Region accolades.
Clearly, this 2012 edition of Bulldog women's lacrosse places itself in the debate for the best team in the program's history. While the loss of the extremely valuable seniors will be tough to handle, the Bulldogs return numerous playmakers and starters who will surely look to build upon the experiences of this historical season. With Soboti at the helm, the squad sits in excellent hands to pick up where it left off en route to another record-setting effort.