The University of Redlands women's water polo team dropped its first match against Siena College (NY), 6-12, but bounced back for a 7-5 victory over McKendree University (IL) in non-conference action at the Thompson Aquatic Center on Thursday evening.
In the first game, Siena cruised to a 7-2 lead through the first two periods to force the Bulldogs into an uphill battle. Senior attacker Sami Walker (Taylorsville, UT) fed sophomore attacker Kelly Klish (Glenview, IL) for Redlands' first goal of the game late in the first. In the second stanza, the Bulldogs capitalized on a power-play opportunity, as junior attacker Hunter Olivier's (Indio, CA) goal closed the gap to 2-4.
Early in the third, senior goalkeeper Kelly Grosswendt (Newbury Park, CA) threw a long toss to a racing sophomore attacker Katelynn Holloman (Wildomar, CA), who scored on a one-on-one opportunity to make it 3-8.
Following a goal from Siena on its next possession, Redlands bounced back with back-to-back goals, with Walker contributing to both. First, she connected with Klish once again for a score before firing off a goal of her own to cut the deficit to 5-9.
Although the Bulldogs tallied one more goal off the hand of senior attacker Katelyn Jenkins (Bellevue, WA), Siena closed out the 12-6 win.
In the second game of the evening, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-0 lead and stayed in front for the 7-5 triumph. First-year attacker Holly Kvanvig (Beaverton, OR) initiated the scoring spree with an unassisted goal with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter. A couple of minutes later, she dished the ball to Jenkins, who scored her first goal of the game at the 2:54-mark for Redlands' early 2-0 lead.
Amidst a defensive-laden second period, Olivier powered the ball into the back of the net for the Maroon and Gray's 3-0 lead with 1:22 left in the frame. As time expired, Jenkins connected on a goal to give the Bulldogs momentum off a 4-0 advantage at the break.
To get things going in the third, senior utility player Breanna O'Dea (Rowland Heights, CA) threw a long pass to senior center Kolby Kahahawai (Kailua, HI), who turned and uncorked her goal to cap off the 5-0 start for the Maroon and Gray.
As action continued, McKendree made it onto the scoreboard twice to cut the deficit, but senior attacker Sami Walker (Taylorsville, UT) stretched the Maroon and Gray's lead to 6-2, as the teams headed into the final eight minutes of the game.
Although the Bearcats put up three goals in just over a minute span, the Bulldogs kept the opponents at bay for the 7-5 victory.
Jenkins ended the game with a hat-trick, while Grosswendt came up with 10 saves to go along with three steals.
Redlands (6-8, 1-0 SCIAC) hits the road to face Pomona-Pitzer Colleges at the Convergence Tournament on Saturday, March 2, at 12:45 p.m. The Bulldogs also take on Penn State –Behrend at 4:30 p.m.