Amidst record-breaking performances and high-quality competition, the University of Redlands women's lacrosse team put together the program's eighth-consecutive winning season and advanced to the first-ever Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament in a solid season. Under the tutelage of Head Coach Suzette Soboti, the Bulldogs earned a 9-8 overall record to go along with a 4-6 mark in conference.
After kicking off the season with a tough SCIAC loss, the Bulldogs quickly bounced back to demolish the Whittier College Poets in a 17-5 performance on Farquhar Field. With the scored tied at 2-2 early in the home opener, Redlands ramped up its productivity to secure an impressive victory. At the end of the first half, the Maroon and Gray held a slight 6-4 advantage, thanks in part to a three-goal stanza by freshman midfielder Sadie Pickering (Tacoma, WA). During the second half, sophomore midfielder Hanna Morford (West Linn, OR) accounted for three goals and two assists in the Bulldogs' 11-goal outburst.
Redlands headed east for Spring Break and came home with two wins and a new single-game record. In their second contest of the trip, the Bulldogs broke open a 4-4 halftime score with a 9-0 run in the final 30 minutes to capture a 13-4 victory over the Hendrix College (AR) Warriors. Senior attack player Dulce Moll (Mercer Island, WA) paced the Maroon and Gray with her five-goal showing, which included all of the team's goals in the first stanza. Junior goalkeeper Quinn Egan (Greenwood Village, CO) patrolled the Bulldog cage for five saves, while freshman goalkeeper Lindsay Hope (Portland, OR) recorded one save in her six-minute appearance.
In the Bulldogs' next contest, Egan's record-setting effort lifted the Maroon and Gray to an impressive 12-4 win over Centre College (KY). After the teams traded scores early in the game, Redlands relied on the brick-wall play of Egan to shut out the Colonels for the remainder of the half. She finished the frame with 12 saves and went on to break the single-season school record with 22 stops in a complete-game effort. On the other side of the field, Morford and Pickering led a ferocious attack with four goals apiece.
On March 8, the Bulldogs returned to SCIAC action by hosting Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Farquhar Field. The Maroon and Gray created a 9-3 halftime lead, before holding off a late push by the Sagehens to snag the important 15-9 victory. By the 15:56-mark of the second stanza, Redlands sat comfortably in front with a 10-goal lead, as freshman attack player Charly Walter (Bethesda, MD) was one of four Bulldogs to score a hat trick or better in the game. In addition, the stingy defensive line of junior Katie Koehler (Jackson, WY), junior Jacquelyn Archey (Sammamish, WA), freshman Paige Koenig (Centennial, CO) and various others minimized the opponent's chances.
The Bulldogs stretched its win streak to five with positive results over Berry College (VT) and Illinois Wesleyan University in mid-March. In the 11-5 showing against Berry, junior midfielder Lacey Bjorndal (Sherwood, OR) led the charge with a five-goal performance that came off of only seven shots. Against IWU, the Bulldogs trailed for only two minutes of the game but had to break a nine-all tie with 7:52 remaining to secure the hard-fought win. Pickering fired off the game-winner for her sixth goal of the game. Furthermore, Morford scored in her 26th-consecutive game to reset the Redlands record and garner her first SCIAC Athlete of the Week selection. She went on to score in every remaining game of the season to finish at 35-straight contests with at least one goal.
After dropping a tough 11-16 loss to Occidental on March 29, the Bulldogs bounced back the next day with a 12-11 thriller against George Fox University (OR). During the back-and-forth game that included four ties, Redlands secured the eventual game-winner with 6:37 remaining. Freshman defender Chelsea Sahami (Millbrae, CA) forced the Bruins to cough up possession of the ball for Koenig to recover before Morford scored the Bulldogs' final goal of the game. Morford's well-rounded contribution was highlighted by her five caused turnovers, as she later went on to lead the team in this category with 27 on the season.
Redlands faced a challenging month of April that resulted in a 2-4 record against SCIAC foes to close out the regular season in fourth place. After back-to-back losses to Chapman and CMS, the Bulldogs rebounded with an 11-5 decision over Whittier for the season sweep of the Poets. Pickering led the Maroon and Gray with the ninth multi-goal performance of her rookie campaign by scoring four times against the Poets. Furthermore, Moll broke the Bulldogs' all-time career assist record with her 80th in this game but later finished her four-year career with 84.
After dropping a 6-11 decision to the Panthers, Redlands gained a seven-goal outburst from Morford, which propelled the team to a 15-11 win over Occidental on Senior Night. She was named the SCIAC Athlete of the Week for her outstanding performance. Furthermore, it was only appropriate that the senior combination of midfielder Breanne Rideout (San Diego, CA) and Moll contributed on the Bulldogs' final goal of the night to seal the victory.
With a 4-6 SCIAC record, Redlands entered the inaugural SCIAC Postseason Tournament as the No. 4 seed and attempted to dethrone CMS in the semifinal game. The Bulldogs played a tight first half that kept them within striking distance but it was not enough to complete the upset. Morford fired off two quick netters and Egan made a pair of huge stops to make it a 2-0 game early on. Pickering's free-position goal put Redlands up by a score of 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the action. Unfortunately for Redlands, this early deficit only awoke the giant, as the Athenas went on a 6-0 run to close out the first half and remained in front through the final whistle.
In late April, it was announced that Morford and Egan represented Redlands on the All-SCIAC First Team, while Moll, Bjorndal, and Pickering collected Second-Team honors. Koehler landed on the SCIAC's All-Sportsmanship Team as well.
The accolades continued to roll in for the Maroon and Gray, as the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association deemed Egan and Morford as First-Team All-Region honorees and Bjorndal and Moll as Second-Team selections.
Finally, Bjorndal capped off the solid season for the Bulldogs by being invited to attend the elite NCAA Career in Sports Forum in Indianapolis.
With a relentless passion and complementary skills, the Redlands women's lacrosse team put together a quality campaign in 2017 that was highlighted by new school records, individual accolades, and many memorable moments. Although the contributions of junior defender Denise Guerrero (Glendale, CA), who graduated early, and Moll and Rideout, will be missed, the Bulldogs look forward to building upon the foundation of success that remains with this talented squad.