Bulldog Women’s Water Polo Falls Twice in Hard-Fought Matches

Michelle Na looks to pass the ball against VMI
Photo credit: Mollie Craighead

The University of Redlands women's water polo team squared off against two opponents on Wednesday at the Thompson Aquatic Center.  In the opener, the Bulldogs made a late-game push in an exciting Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) tilt against the University of La Verne but fell short of the comeback, 5-6.  In the nightcap, the Maroon and Gray struggled to match the efficient offense of Virginia Military Institute and lost the non-conference game, 5-12.

In the first contest, the teams traded possessions early on, with neither finding the back of the net for the majority of the first period.  The Leopards recorded the first goal of the game with 26 seconds remaining in the frame.

La Verne continued to roll and earned a 4-0 lead by the 1:47-mark of the second quarter.

However, the Bulldogs jumped on the board about a minute later, when junior attacker Katelyn Jenkins (Bellevue, WA) found junior attacker Wendy McAleer (Simi Valley, CA), who uncorked a shot that tipped off the ULV goalkeeper's hands for the score.

After making the necessary adjustments at halftime, Redlands scored the first netter of the third frame, as junior attacker Breanna O'Dea (Rowland Heights, CA) dished out an assist on first-year defender Sarah Draves' (Fallbrook, CA) goal with 7:13 to go in the third quarter.  The Bulldogs continued to push offensively but many of their shots bounced off the post or missed the cage.

La Verne stretched its lead to 5-2 with another goal before the end of the third.

With eight minutes to play, the Bulldogs upped the ante by clawing back with huge defensive stops and back-to-back goals. Senior attacker Michelle Na (Mercer Island, WA) connected with sophomore attacker Olivia Allen (Santa Monica, CA) to initiate the Maroon and Gray's 3-0 run just 45 seconds into the final frame.  Shortly after, Jenkins sent a pass to O'Dea, who found the back of the net to make it a one-score game. 

However, La Verne made it a two-score game at 6-4 with 4:20 to go.

A minute later, Jenkins provided the assist on Na's to breathe new life into the Bulldogs.  By forcing the Leopards into multiple turnovers and critical exclusions, Redlands had its chances to tie it up but struggled to push a shot past the Leopard goalkeeper, resulting in the 5-6 loss.

In the Maroon and Gray's second game of the day, VMI jetted out to an 8-0 lead through the 4:28-mark of the second stanza, forcing the home team to play catch-up.

Junior center Kolby Kahahawai (Wailuku, HI) ended the Bulldogs' scoring drought when she blasted a shot into the corner of the net off an assist from senior defender Stefanie Goldbach (Huntington Beach, CA). 

After VMI scored another netter, Redlands stepped up with a 4-0 run, that included all assisted goals.  Kahahawai fired off two of these netters, while Jenkins and Na each provided a goal and an assist during this stretch.

However, the Keydets put together a 3-0 run to finish the game, resulting in the Bulldogs' 5-12 loss.

Redlands (6-17, 4-4 SCIAC) hosts its alumnae game on Saturday, March 31, at 12 noon before taking on Cal Lutheran University in a SCIAC match on Wednesday, April 4, at the Thompson Aquatic Center.  First sprint is scheduled for 4 p.m.