Sophomore midfielder Eva Vlassopoulos (Portland, OR) scored a pair of late goals to push the University of Redlands women's soccer team past Occidental College in a 2-1, double-overtime thriller on Saturday in Eagle Rock. With the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) win, the Bulldogs sit in a three-way tie for first place in the standings. In addition, Redlands hands the Tigers their first loss of the season with tonight's result.
The Tigers played well early on and earned a free kick that led to a score from long range in the fourth minute. The Maroon and Gray attempted to answer shortly after with a header from sophomore defender Abby Nordquist (Gig Harbor, WA) off a corner kick. Occidental threatened to score deeper into the half, but two of the home team's shots hit the crossbar.
The Bulldogs had their chances midway through the half with quick shots from sophomore midfielder Emily Falla (Woodinville, WA) and junior forward Gabby Hart (Sammamish, WA) but neither found the back of the net.
Down a goal, the Bulldogs entered the second half with a new attacking mindset and strategy. Redlands benefited from the adjustment in the 87th minute when Vlassopoulos scored to tie the match at 1-1, which sent the game into overtime.
First-year goalkeeper Natalie Hubacz (Grassvalley, CA) impressed in the first overtime with three critical saves. Redlands' solid defense held off the Tigers, which sent the game into a second overtime period.
The Tigers immediately went on the attack with an early shot that flew wide. On the counterattack, senior forward Madison Mills (San Ramon, CA) let loose on a solid chance, but unfortunately, it missed high. Hubacz came up with another huge save shortly after to keep the game alive.
Junior forward Bryn Anderson (Tahoe City, CA) checked into the game in the 105th minute and nearly ended the game in the 106th with a forceful shot on goal that forced the goalkeeper to make a tough save. With time winding down on Redlands' final possession, senior defender Louisa Alstot (Portland, OR) launched a cross into the box where she found Vlassopoulos. After collecting the ball, Vlassopoulos fired off the golden goal over the goalkeeper's head to cement the 2-1 victory for the Maroon and Gray.
The backline of Alstot, Nordquist, junior Bria Bowton (Spokane, WA), and first-years Logan Swim (Issaquah, WA), Tristen Sherley (Novato, CA), and Rilee Mezenen (Holladay City, UT) did a great job of stopping the Tigers' offense on several different occasions. Junior goalkeeper Brittany Dinkins (Renton, WA) and Hubacz shared time in goal throughout the match. Dinkins recorded one save, while Hubacz earned the win and finished with nine.
The Bulldogs (8-4-1, 7-2-1 SCIAC) head to Pasadena on Wednesday, October 17, for a 4 p.m. showdown against the Caltech Beavers.