Redlands Edges Occidental to Win First-Round NCAA Match

Redlands notched the program's first-ever NCAA tournament victory with an exciting 15-14 decision over Occidental in first-round action on Wednesday at Farquhar Field. After firing off three consecutive goals in the opening few minutes, the Bulldogs never trailed in the contest and held off a late comeback effort by the Tigers en route to the historical win.

The Maroon and Gray initiated the scoring with a three-goal outburst, with sophomore midfielder KK McCaslin (Portland, OR) posting two of her team-leading five netters.

Redlands created a 5-2 advantage when junior attack player Crystal Painter (Lake George, NY) connected on a pass from junior attack player Aimee Dewan (Alamo, CA), making the most of being a man up after Oxy's yellow card just seconds earlier. This initiated another three-goal spurt by the Bulldogs as sophomore midfielder Jacky Craycraft (Trabuco Canyon, CA) and McCaslin capped off the scoring effort.

However, Tiger sophomore midfielder Tori Larson (Denver, CO) and junior midfielder Sarah Kessler (Portland, OR) showed their offensive prowess with consecutive goals, which cut the lead to three with less than two minutes to go in the period.

The teams traded scores in the final minutes, with Oxy's sophomore midfielder Rebecca Belding (Burlingame, CA) finding the back of the net with only one second left on the clock to create the makings of a momentum shift for the second stanza.

The Tigers came out of halftime with determination and persistence on their minds and proceeded to chip away at Redlands' lead. Oxy finally cut it to one at 11-12 with 11:06 remaining when junior midfielder Isabel Osgood-Roach (Portland, OR) found junior attack player Lauren Wemple (Needham, MA) on a nice option off of a free-position opportunity. The duo connected in reverse order on the Tigers' previous score, replicating a very similar play.

Redlands and Occidental traded punches through the next eight-and-a-half minutes, until senior midfielder Megan Prickett (Poway, CA) nabbed the biggest draw control of the night. The Bulldogs successfully possessed the ball for the final 2:26 of the game, snuffing out any chances for the Tigers to tie it up.

In addition to McCaslin, Redlands gained multi-score efforts from the team's usual suspects. Craycraft notched two goals and two assists, while Prickett chipped in a hat trick and an assist. Dewan finished with two netters and an assist, and Painter found the back of the net on one occasion and dished out two assists.

In a game that came down to possession, the Bulldogs won the draw-control battle, 19-10, with Painter leading all players with seven. Craycraft and Prickett recorded five apiece for the Maroon and Gray.

Larson stepped it up for the Tigers, scoring five goals and winning two draw controls. Osgood-Roach and freshman defender Beebe Finch-Sanders (Berkeley, CA) each provided two scores and one assist.

While making its first-ever NCAA appearance, Occidental finishes the season with a 13-4 record.

With its 16th victory of the season, Redlands (16-1) punches its ticket to the second round of the NCAA tournament and faces the Catholic University of America (DC) on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Salisbury University (MD). Earlier today, the Cardinals (15-5) cruised to an 18-5 victory over Christopher Newport University (VA) in their opening game.


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