The University of Redlands women's water polo team left it all in the pool on Wednesday night but suffered a tough loss to the visiting Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action. After trailing by as many as four goals, the Bulldogs showed incredible heart to battle all the way back and force overtime. Unfortunately, they came out on the losing end of an 8-10 decision.
Despite making a pair of early stops on defense, the Maroon and Gray quickly faced a four-goal hole by the end of the first quarter.
Nonetheless, Redlands regrouped in the second and cut the deficit in half to make it 2-4. Senior defender Carmen Gardner (South San Francisco, CA) fired off the opening score for the Bulldogs with 6:32 remaining in the frame before senior goalkeeper Kelly Grosswendt (Newbury Park, CA) snagged a steal on the Sagehens' ensuing possession. About 90 seconds later, senior attacker Katelyn Jenkins (Bellevue, WA) found first-year attacker Holly Kvanvig (Beaverton, OR) for Redlands' second goal of the game. The Maroon and Gray kept Pomona-Pitzer off the board throughout the eight-minute period, as Grosswendt tallied four of her eight saves of the game.
The teams put up impressive stops and steals, which forced tougher shots early in the third stanza. Neither squad scored a goal until the 2:34-mark, when sophomore defender Sarah Draves (Fallbrook, CA) connected with junior attacker Hunter Olivier (Indio, CA) on the perimeter for a quality Bulldog score to make it 3-4.
However, the Sagehens mustered two goals in the final two minutes to earn a 6-3 lead as the teams entered the fourth quarter.
But Redlands refused to go away and worked to tie it up with quality shot-making and big-time defense. After the teams traded goals early on, the Bulldogs earned a penalty shot and Jenkins converted it with about six minutes to go. Two more steals by Grosswendt put the Maroon and Gray back on offense, which led to Walker's second goal of the quarter.
Following back-and-forth defensive stops, Redlands orchestrated a successful power-play to tie it up at 7-all with 3:37 left on the fourth-quarter clock. After working the ball around the pool, the Bulldogs sent it to first-year attacker Nicolette Ramirez (Whittier, CA), who quickly delivered it to senior center Kolby Kahahawai (Kailua, HI) in the middle. She rose out of the water and uncorked the game-tying goal for the Bulldogs.
However, the Sagehens answered with another goal to force the Bulldogs to rally back again. Following a timeout, they did just that, as Ramirez distributed the ball to Walker, who rocketed it past the Pomona-Pitzer goalkeeper for an 8-all stalemate with 1:18 remaining.
Although Redlands had two final looks at the net, neither would go, which led to overtime.
After neither team scored in the first extra period, the Sagehens snagged the game-winning goals in the final 1:34 of the second overtime to seal the win. Although Redlands managed two shots in the final seconds, it was not enough to change the outcome of the hard-fought contest.
Grosswendt finished the night with eight saves and eight steals. Walker paced the offense with a fourth-quarter hat trick.
Redlands (11-15, 4-6 SCIAC) heads to Chapman University on Saturday, April 6, for an 11 a.m. tilt against the Panthers.