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April 29, 2012

TIGERS COME UP JUST SHORT IN SCIAC CHAMPIONSHIP

By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director
 

LOS ANGELESHaley Gandsey (Oakland) setup two goals in the last 10 minutes to bring the Occidental College women's lacrosse team within one, but the junior midfielder's left-handed shot to tie with less than 4 minutes left was saved by Anna Martinez (Pleasanton), then Redlands added a pair of insurance goals to finish the game, beating Oxy 10-7 in the SCIAC championship at Jack Kemp Stadium on Sunday.

With the win, Redlands (15-1) finishes alone atop the SCIAC women's lacrosse points standings, claiming its first SCIAC women's lacrosse championship in the third year the conference has sponsored the sport. Had Oxy won, the teams would have been co-champions.

The Tigers (13-3) strategically dominated possession in the first half, scoring three goals after holding the ball for more than 2 minutes. Their longest possession lasted more than 5 minutes before ending with a Rebecca Belding (Burlingame) goal.

But in the second half, the Bulldogs gave Oxy a taste of its own medicine.

Redlands' Meghan Pricket (Poway) scored 19 seconds into the period and KK McCaslin (Portland, Ore.) scored shortly after, giving the Bulldogs a 7-5 edge. Then, without much pressure from the Tigers, the top-seed held the ball for 8 minutes before McCaslin finally scored her second goal of the game with 17:48 left.

Oxy chipped away.

Gandsey found Isabel Osgood-Roach (Portland, Ore.) off of a free position for a score, and then Belding for another on a cut to the cage that trimmed the Bulldogs advantage to 8-7 with 5:26 left. Alida Beck (Portland, Ore.) won the ensuing draw and Oxy had a chance to tie. But Martinez came up with her fourth and most important save.

Just after Gandsey's miss, Blair Callaghan (Tacoma, Wash.) found Katie Colasurdo (Eugene, Ore.) to put Redlands up 9-7 with 3:28 to go.

Amiee Dewan (Alamo), who led the game with three goals, added the final touch to the victory and her impressive day, scoring with 3 seconds remaining.

"I'm proud of the way our kids adjusted to our game plan. They showed a lot of heart, hustle and character," Oxy coach Michele Uhlfelder said. "We came out strong and we had our chances. But in a tight game you have a really slim margin of error. We just didn't get it done."

With just five schools competing in women's lacrosse, the SCIAC does not have an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA tournament. Both Redlands and Occidental will wait until the selection committee decides on May 9, to find out if they are in the playoffs or not. The Bulldogs, which have been in-and-out of the national rankings this year, have a good shot. For the Tigers, it might be a bit of a stretch.

"Today was about controlling our own destiny. Still other teams have conference tournaments to play and regular seasons to finish," Uhlfelder said. "We need to see how things shake out. There is no precedent for how many teams go, but I think we're tournament ready. I think we're healthy and we're hungry, and I think we would represent the West extremely well."