The University of Redlands women's soccer team opened up the regular season at home against Gustavus Adolphus College (MN) in non-conference action on Friday night. Despite a strong effort, the Maroon and Gray struggled to finish on the offensive end and fell by a score of 1-4.
The Bulldogs got off to an aggressive start, creating an offensive opportunity in the first three minutes of the game. After earning a corner kick, senior defender Louisa Alstot (Portland, OR) played a well-placed ball to the left of the net, giving sophomore defender Abby Nordquist (Gig Harbor, WA) an opportunity for a header, but she just missed it to the left of the goal.
After relinquishing a pair of goals on free kicks, Redlands worked to cut the deficit before halftime. In the closing minute of the first frame, the Bulldogs were awarded a pair of free kicks of their own. Despite a solid look on each attempt, including another header, the Maroon and Gray entered the break with a two-goal setback.
Early in the second half, the Bulldogs continued to play with urgency, seemingly dictating the pace of the game. They mustered multiple excellent opportunities but the GAC defense remained unfazed with miraculous plays between the posts.
In the 64th minute of the match, sophomore midfielder Eva Vlassopoulos (Portland, OR) received the ball in space and fired off a quality shot on goal, but it was deflected by the foot of a defender. Junior forward Gabby Hart (Sammamish, WA) was in the perfect position to immediately knock it into the back of the net to cut the score to 1-4.
Redlands continued to apply pressure on the Golden Gusties but struggled to break through again on offense. One of the Bulldogs' best chances to score came in the 74th minute, when junior forward Bryn Anderson (Tahoe City, CA) played a beautiful cross to the front of the net but to no avail.
Despite the final score, the defense showed a lot of heart with strong tackling and great hustle. Junior goalkeeper Brittany Dinkins (Renton, WA) made her first collegiate start and came up with three saves. Offensively, the Maroon and Gray outshot Gustavus Adolphus, 17-9, including an 11-4 second-half advantage. Redlands also dominated the corner-kick battle with a 7-1 margin.
The Bulldogs (0-1-0) are back on the pitch on Sunday, September 2, to host Piedmont College (GA) at 10 a.m. on Farquhar Field.