Fueled by goals from two rookie Bulldogs, the No. 2-seeded University of Redlands men's soccer team took down the No. 3 Poets of Whitter College, 2-0, in Wednesday night's exciting Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament semifinal on Farquhar Field.
The Bulldogs went on the attack early by breaking down the Poets' defense with effective dribbling and quality passing. Among several solid crosses into the box, senior midfielder Dylan Carlyle (Ottawa, CAN) sent one in that junior midfielder Collin ChubbFertal (Eugene, OR) nearly put away but his header missed high in the 35th minute.
Less than a minute later, first-year forward Ethan Kovach (Las Vegas, NV) took matters into his own hands and juked four Whittier defenders on his way down the left flank and blasted the ball through the upper-far post for the first goal of the game.
Whittier took its first and only shot of the opening half in the 37th minute that went wide, sending the teams into halftime with a 1-0 score in favor of the Bulldogs.
The Poets came out the break more aggressive with the first two shots, but one was blocked and the other was saved by first-year goalkeeper Adrian Muñoz (Pasadena, CA).
Deeper into the half, momentum shifted back to Redlands, which led to another goal. Junior midfielder Derrin Valeri (Atlanta, GA) pushed the ball past Whittier's defense and slipped a through-ball to first-year midfielder Joseph Parra (West Covina, CA), who slammed it home to the far post to put the Bulldogs up 2-0 in the 75th minute.
Down the stretch, the backline of the Maroon and Gray continued to play lights out by allowing only three shots by the Poets for the remainder of the game. Two missed high, while the other hit the crossbar. Redlands controlled possession until time expired to complete the shutout and stamp its ticket to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Championship game.
The Bulldog defense allowed only six shots from Whittier, with only one landing on target for Muñoz to save. The Maroon and Gray also won the corner-kick battle, 7-5.
Redlands (10-4-3, 9-2-2 SCIAC) competes for the SCIAC Tournament Championship at No. 13/25 ranked and top-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday, November 9, at 7 p.m.