Amidst an up-and-down campaign, the University of Redlands women's lacrosse team showcased its tenacity and made forward progress while producing an 8-8 overall record and 2-8 mark in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action. With several record-breaking performances, the Maroon and Gray pieced together a quality campaign that included an undefeated run against non-conference foes.
Despite beginning the season with tough losses against SCIAC foes, the Bulldogs bounced back in a big way by rattling off four consecutive victories against non-conference opponents. The Maroon and Gray earned its first win of the season during a trip to Tennessee over the Piedmont College (GA) Lions. Senior midfielder Hanna Morford (West Linn, OR) scored in the first 13 seconds of the contest en route to notching five goals by the end of the half and seven for the game. In addition to scooping up three ground balls and securing two draw controls, junior midfielder Sadie Pickering (Tacoma, WA) also enjoyed her strongest offensive output of the year with five goals off of a 5-for-5 clip. Senior attacker Kelsey Ruhl (Seattle, WA) initiated the offense with a team-high three assists. As a team, the Bulldogs nearly doubled the Lions' ground balls with a 27-14 advantage.
Two days later, Pickering dominated Sewanee with four goals, three ground balls, and a caused turnover in the Bulldogs' 13-9 victory. This time, first-year midfielder Joren Fettig (Bend, OR) added fuel to the fire with three goals and a career-high nine draw controls. In net, first-year goalkeeper Annie Van Norstrand (Littleton, CO) kept the Tigers at bay with nine saves, eight ground balls, and three caused turnovers in the win.
In mid-March, Redlands returned home to extend its win streak, beginning with a 21-15 triumph against Roger Williams University (RI). The Bulldogs faced adversity with a five-goal deficit but turned it around with an explosive second half to secure the victory. Morford and Fettig ignited the Redlands offense by combining for seven goals over the first 10 minutes of the second stanza to help the home team gain a 14-11 advantage. Despite a four-goal push from Roger Williams, the Bulldogs closed out the game with seven more goals to clinch the win. Overall, Morford scored seven goals and set the single-game school record for draw controls with 15. Another Redlands record went down with Ruhl's career-high nine assists. In addition, first-year midfielder Sydney Louie (Lafayette, CA) filled up the stat sheet with a season-high five goals, seven ground balls, and four caused turnovers. Van Norstrand came to play once again with a career-high 18 saves, including four in the final 10 minutes to hold off the Hawks.
Next, the Maroon and Gray produced a school-record-tying offensive explosion against St. Mary's College (IN) in a convincing 25-15 victory. While tying the school standard for goals in a game, the Bulldogs gained at least one goal from 11 different players for an impressive showing. After back-and-forth action that led to a 7-7 tie, the Bulldogs unleashed a 7-1 run to close out the first frame and take a comfortable 14-8 lead. Redlands' momentum poured into the second half, as first-year midfielder Ashley Rende (Mission Viejo, CA) and sophomore attacker Paige Erlanger (Las Vegas, NV) paced an 11-goal stanza with three apiece to help culminate the Bulldogs' four-game winning streak with a 25-14 effort. Morford starred once again with five goals, one assist, 11 draw controls, and three caused turnover in the first half alone.
After a disappointing road-loss to Chapman University, the Maroon and Gray returned home in late March to fire off an offensive avalanche over the next three games for another mid-season surge. First up, the Bulldogs shut out Whitworth University (WA), 20-0, for the largest win margin of the season. Ten different players scored, paced by Morford with five goals and Pickering with four. The Bulldogs displayed an all-around team effort by forcing Whitworth into 24 turnovers, winning the ground-ball battle 29-14, and also holding a 15-6 draw-control edge. Among the many individual highlights, first-year midfielder Alison Waddles (Long Beach, CA) notched her first goal in a Bulldog uniform when she converted a free-position shot with 10:36 left in the first half.
For the fifth time in seven games, the Bulldogs put up 20 or more goals when they captured a 20-12 victory at home over the University of Chicago (IL). After Chicago scored the first goal of the game, Redlands never trailed again and exploded for 13 goals by halftime. Beyond Morford's team-leading six goals in the game, Louie tallied five scores, two assists, four ground balls, and a caused turnover. Pickering also provided an offensive boost with four goals of her own, to go along with three ground balls and a team-high five draw controls.
In the last game of the Bulldogs' March slate, they used a well-balanced attack to secure a 17-7 victory over Whittier College for Redlands' first conference win of the season. First-year midfielder Maeve Wiencek (Sherwood, OR), first-year attacker Maddie Bush (Ladera Ranch, CA), and Fettig each found the back of the net twice, while senior attacker Adi Fellows (Albuquerque, NM) corralled a game-high four ground balls. Van Norstrand and first-year goalkeeper Kallie Collett (Manhattan Beach, CA) split time in the cage to combine for five saves. The Bulldog defense limited the Poets' chances to score, with senior Alexis Pound (Washington, DC) and junior/senior Abby Filsinger (Verona, WI) and various others stepping up with persistence and skill.
After suffering losses against three formidable conference opponents, the Maroon and Gray found its footing once again by defeating Whittier for the second time this season. Much like in their last meeting three weeks prior, the Bulldogs built a solid first-half lead that catapulted them to a comfortable 23-11 victory. Redlands came out firing on all cylinders with eight different players finding the back of the net for the first 12 goals of the game. By the final whistle, sophomore attacker Bre Gunderson (San Diego, CA) had shouldered the offensive load with five goals on 5-for-5 shooting. Equally effective, Erlanger supplied three goals, two assists, and two ground balls, while Fettig notched two goals, two assists, two ground balls, and three draw controls.
In the final game of the regular season, the Bulldogs left it all on Farquhar Field but came up short in an 11-13 decision against Chapman University on Senior Day. Down by three with 16 minutes to go, Morford made the most of her final outing with the Maroon and Gray by registering the Bulldogs' final two goals. She scored off a nice feed from Wiencek and then repeated the effort of Louie's pristine pass to cut it to 11-12. But Chapman's insurance goal late in the game kept the Bulldogs out of the win column in a heartbreaking end to the 2019 season.
Shortly thereafter, Morford became a three-time All-SCIAC First-Team member and an Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) First-Team All-Region honoree. She led the team with 70 points off of a team-high 67 goals to go along with three assists. In addition, Pickering, Ruhl, and Pound landed on the All-SCIAC Second Team. Pickering received her second such award, while Ruhl and Pound made their debut among the elite list.
Among multiple new records, team accomplishments, and exciting performances, the Maroon and Gray developed a foundation of success that promises a bright future. Despite losing several key players to graduation, the Bulldogs are excited to continue their upward climb toward a return to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. With Head Coach Suzette Soboti at the helm, the Redlands women's lacrosse team looks to the depth, talent, and leadership of its returning crew to positively impact the team's next chapter.