The University of Redlands women's water polo team welcomed Occidental College to the Thompson Aquatic Center for its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) home opener on Wednesday afternoon. In a tale of two halves, the Bulldogs busted their 5-3, halftime lead wide open by utilizing eight players to score eight goals in the second half to emerge victorious by a final score of 13-6.
On the Bulldogs' first possession, junior center Kolby Kahahawai (Kailua, HI) found the back of the net to put the Maroon and Gray on the board just 46 seconds into the period. Solid defense by both teams kept scoring to a minimum in the first quarter. At the 4:31-mark, senior defender Stefanie Goldbach (Huntington Beach, CA) notched another Bulldog goal to head into the second with a slight 2-0 lead.
The second period saw back-and-forth scoring, with each team earning three goals in the eight-minute span. Thanks to first-year center Alina Waldo (Portland, OR), senior attacker Michelle Na (Mercer Island, WA), and first-year attacker Kelly Klish (Glenview, IL), the Bulldogs still held a modest, 5-3 lead by the midway point of the contest.
Kahahawai opened the second half just as she did the first, as she scored this one off a quick assist from junior attacker Katelyn Jenkins (Bellevue, WA). However, Occidental scored with 5:18 left in the third quarter to keep things tight at 4-6.
Redlands subsequently strung together some nice offensive outbursts that resulted in a 3-1 run, with all goals supported by an assist. Kahahawai, Waldo, and Jenkins recorded the goals, while junior attacker Sami Walker (Taylorsville, UT), Na, and first-year defender Sarah Draves (Fallbrook, CA) dished out the assists.
With the home team clicking on all cylinders, the offense busted the game wide open in the final quarter with four goals, while the defense only allowed one. Sophomore attacker Olivia Allen (Santa Monica, CA) made her presence known with two goals, as Walker and Klish added one apiece.
Kahahawai led the team with three goals, while Draves served up three assists, and Walker swiped three steals.
The Bulldogs (1-2, 1-0 SCIAC) head to Northern California to face numerous NCAA Division I opponents at the Santa Clara Invite on Saturday, February 24, and Sunday, February 25. Redlands faces the host school in its first match on Saturday at 10:20 a.m.