The University of Redlands women's soccer team faced a win-or-go-home scenario in Saturday's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) battle against the Occidental College Tigers under the lights at Farquhar Field. The Bulldogs corralled a 2-1 victory and a berth to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament on a night that recognized seniors Tanya Haggen (Bellingham, WA), Lihini Weerasinghe (Redlands, CA), and Amy Pumputis (Redmond, WA) in their final, regular-season game at home.
The Bulldogs wasted little time on the offensive end by applying immediate pressure to the Occidental defense. Junior midfielder Savannah Laursen (Boise, ID) unleashed two shots in the first three minutes of action, while Haggen registered two corner kicks for the Maroon and Gray.
In the ninth minute of the stanza, Weerasinghe initiated the Bulldogs' scoring with a goal after working a give-and-go pass with Haggen and Laursen in the box.
The Maroon and Gray went on to fire off eight shots in the first half, with junior defender Sam Keary (Mission Viejo, CA) uncorking two attempts, and junior forward Cassie Lively (Redmond, WA) and sophomore forward Kate Frame (Fox Island, WA) adding one shot each.
The defensive unit of freshman Erin Schlosser (Sammamish, WA), sophomore Faith Campbell (Bainbridge Island, WA), Pumputis, and Keary held the Tigers to just three shots but more importantly kept them off the scoreboard in the first 45 minutes.
Redlands' scoring opportunities diminished to three in the second half, as a shift in the offensive momentum favored the Tigers by a slight margin. Despite the scarcity of chances, the Bulldogs capitalized in a crucial way.
After Occidental tied up the score, the Bulldogs continued their aggressive mindset late in the half by netting the go-ahead goal off the foot of Laursen. Frame, who recorded the assist on the score, dribbled the ball down the near side of the field off a set piece. As she approached the end-line, she served up a perfectly placed ball about 12 yards in front of the goal, which Laursen promptly buried low post for the 2-1 lead.
Due to extensive work by the Bulldogs' defense, the Tigers failed to net a score for the remainder of regulation, leading to the important 2-1 triumph for the Maroon and Gray.
Junior goalkeeper Lexi Felix (Kailua, HI) provided a phenomenal performance between the pipes by recording four saves in the win.
Furthermore, sophomore defender Samantha Burghardt (Gig Harbor, WA), sophomore midfielder Erin Lau (Reno, NV), and forward junior Jen Franklin (Shoreline, WA) supplied crucial minutes off the bench for the Maroon and Gray.
At game's end, the Bulldogs outshot the Tigers, 11-7, while registering six corner kicks to their three.
Redlands (10-6-2, 7-5-2 SCIAC) continues on to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament as the No. 4 seed and faces the top-seeded Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Wed., November 5, at 7 p.m. Additional details will be posted as they become available.