In blustery, cold, and wet conditions, the University of Redlands women's lacrosse team battled No. 25 Denison University in Granville, OH, on Thursday afternoon. With temperatures dropping and the wind and rain picking up late in the contest, the Bulldogs went toe-to-toe with the Big Red but ultimately fell by a tight score of 9-11.
After Denison scored twice to start the game, the Maroon and Gray responded with back-to-back goals to even the tally with 14:36 to go in the opening half. Senior midfielder Lacey Bjorndal (Sherwood, OR) and junior midfielder Hanna Morford (West Linn, OR) each snagged a draw control and ultimately converted the respective goal.
The teams traded scores throughout the remainder of the first half, as neither would give an inch defensively. Senior goalkeeper Quinn Egan (Greenwood Village, CO) did her part for the Maroon and Gray, as she recorded nine saves in the first half.
With about 10 minutes left, Morford found space off an assist by sophomore attacker Charly Walter (Bethesda, MD), while Bjorndal fired off a free-position shot for the goal less than six minutes later to tie it up at four-all.
The Bulldogs earned their first lead of the day when sophomore attacker Sadie Pickering (Tacoma, WA) took advantage of a second-chance scoring opportunity. Morford forced Denison into a turnover, which she hauled in as a ground ball. Although her subsequent shot was saved, she recovered that ground ball to allow the offense to reset. Pickering went on to fire one past the Big Red goalkeeper for the Bulldogs' 5-4 lead.
However, Denison answered with back-to-back goals to regain the lead at 6-5 before junior attacker Kelsey Ruhl (Seattle, WA) converted a big-time free-position shot for Redlands.
The back-and-forth nature of the game continued until the Bulldogs broke a 7-7 tie with a pair of scores. First, Ruhl found first-year attacker Breanna Gunderson (San Diego, C) for the goal before Pickering sliced and diced her way past the defense for a clear shot. During this span, first-year defender Kaley Holland (Seattle, WA) caused Denison to turn over the ball twice.
With 10:15 to play, Redlands fought to hang on to its slight advantage but suffered a stretch of turnovers against the pressuring Big Red. This gave Denison just enough of an edge to put up four scores for the eventual win.
Overall, Redlands won the draw-control battle with a 13-9 advantage, as Bjorndal hauled in nine of them.
After missing the last two games, Pickering made her return to action a memorable one by scoring a team-high three goals off four shots. Morford and Bjorndal added two apiece, while Gunderson and Ruhl each tossed in one score.
Defensively, Egan made 13 saves in a complete-game effort against the Big Red. Senior midfielder Jacquelyn Archey (Sammamish, WA) supplied three caused turnovers, including two late in the contest.
Redlands (2-2) travels to Capital University in Columbus, OH, for an 8 a.m. contest on Saturday, March 3.