REDLANDS — Draw controls and an early deficit made the young Occidental College women's lacrosse team's first playoff appearance in school history short-lived.
Redlands controlled the first four draws, scoring three goals in the first five minutes, and then held off the Tigers just long enough to escape the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs with a 15-14 win at Farquhar Field on Wednesday.
After the Tigers (13-4) spotted Redlands (16-1) three goals to start, the game was pretty much even.
In the second half, Oxy cut the Bulldogs' lead to one four times, the last by Tori Larson (Denver) with 2 minutes, 26 seconds left. But Redlands won the ensuing draw and held possession until time expired.
Oxy outscored the Bulldogs 9-7 in the second half.
Larson led the Tigers with five goals, with four coming during the final 23 minutes.
Redlands' KK McCaslin, who finished tied for the game-high with Larson with five also, extended the Bulldogs lead back to two goals twice in the last 5 minutes, including the final time with 3:23 to play.
Charlotte Bromley (Watertown, Conn.) led Oxy with four ground balls. Beebe Finch-Sanders (Berkeley), Isabel Osgood-Roach (Portland, Ore.), and Haley Gandsey (Oakland) all finished with a pair of goals for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs advance to play Catholic (15-5) in the regional tournament on May 12 in Salisbury, Md.
Oxy's best season in program history ends at the hands of the only team they lost to in 2012. The Tigers lost to Redlands four times — twice in the regular season and once in the SCIAC postseason, on top of its loss in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament.
In the program's third year, Oxy went on a 10-game winning streak, finished second in the SCIAC, and was just four goals away from a share of the SCIAC championship.