The University of Redlands women's soccer team took down the Lions of Piedmont College (GA) in a 1-0 thriller on Sunday morning on Farquhar Field. The Bulldogs scored in the 80th and made all of the necessary stops to secure their first victory of the regular season.
A defensive duel ensued throughout the first half, as both teams produced several solid yet unprofitable attempts on goal. Senior forward Madison Mills (San Ramon, CA) fired off two shots early on, but they both were slightly off the mark. In the 16th minute, Piedmont blasted a solid attempt that hit the crossbar. With a quick recovery, the Bulldogs averted danger with a successful clear and had numbers going the other way. A through-ball nearly set the Maroon and Gray up for a goal, but the Lions goalkeeper jumped on the ball.
Redlands continued to push on the offensive end, as sophomore defender Abby Nordquist (Gig Harbor, WA) recorded two header-shots off of well-executed corner kicks in the first half. The Maroon and Gray created one last attempt at a goal in the first half when junior forward Bryn Anderson (Tahoe City, CA) slipped through the defense all the way from the center circle and unleashed a powerful shot, but Piedmont once again made the save.
On the Bulldogs' opening possession of the second half, Mills played a precise cross to junior midfielder Mel Johnson (Bremerton, WA). Johnson gathered the ball and took a shot that was deflected off of a Lions' defender. Similar to the first half, Mills remained aggressive from the start of the frame, registering multiple shots that forced Piedmont to come up with big defensive plays.
The Lions then went on the attack in the 66th minute with a run that looked to be the first goal of the game, but first-year goalkeeper Natalie Hubacz (Grassvalley, CA) made an electrifying, point-blank save to preserve the clean sheet. Deeper into the second stanza, Nordquist orchestrated another great header off of a corner, but it missed just left.
Redlands found the break-through, when Nordquist's persistence on the corner kicks finally came to fruition. In the 80th minute, she leapt up for another header off senior defender Louisa Alstot's (Portland, OR) perfectly-placed corner kick, with this one flying right past the outstretched arms of the Lions' goalkeeper for the Bulldogs' 1-0 advantage.
With 10 minutes remaining in the match, it was up to the defense to preserve the shut-out. They did just that by making play after play and containing any offensive attempts by the Lions. In addition to Nordquist and Alstot, Redlands looked to the stingy defensive work of first-year Rilee Mezenen (Holladay City, UT) and junior Mel Johnson (Bremerton, WA), among others, along the backline.
It was a joint effort in net for the Maroon and Gray, as junior goalkeeper Brittany Dinkins (Renton, WA) recorded five saves in the first half, while Hubacz entered the game in the second and made a huge save to keep the Lions off the board.
The Bulldogs (1-1-0) head to Dallas, TX, next weekend for games against the University of Texas-Dallas and Lesley University (MA). Redlands hits the pitch first against UT-Dallas at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, September 7.