THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.- The Cal Lutheran Women’s soccer team used its season-long recipe of strong starts and smothering defense to defeat Redlands 4-0 Wednesday night at Rolland Stadium in a battle of the SCIAC’s two top teams.
Cal Lutheran was clearly the aggressor in the first twenty minutes of the game and got on the scoreboard first when Mayra Virgen finished off a through-ball threaded in by Melissa Abdelkerim in 8th minute.
The second goal for the Regals came minutes later in the 20th minute when Kristina Hulse and Taylor Will connected on a nice give-and-go with Hulse striking it past the Redlands goalkeeper to put CLU up 2-0.
“I thought our first twenty-five minutes was some of the best we played this season,” Coach Frank Marino said. “We were aggressive, we were assertive and we were making smart passes and I was really pleased with our effort.”
CLU nearly scored on identical play to their second goal in the 43rd minute as Will again found Hulse on a through-ball but Redlands goalkeeper Linzey Smith made a tremendous save on the shot.
Goalkeeper Kristin Bailey came up with a clutch save just before half and Redlands free-kick from just outside the box. The shot came in low and Bailey momentarily bobbled it but was able to corral it in just before a Redlands forward could get to it.
The beginning of the second half had Regal fans uneasy as it was the Bulldogs who came out aggressive to begin the half. Redlands ripped off three shots and had two corner-kicks within the first ten minutes of play including Summer Norquist’s shot that went off the post and was rebounded by a Redlands forward in front of an open goal but was ruled off sides.
However, the Cal Lutheran defense would rally as Norquist’s shot would be the last legimate scoring-threat for the Bulldogs.
The teams played to a deadlock through most of the second half until the 82nd minute when Virgen sent a beautiful through ball from midfield to Will, who outraced a drawn out Redlands goalie and put away the third goal for the Regals.
CLU would put the icing on the cake three minutes later in the 85th minute when Hulse collected the ball at midfield and dribbled her way past three Bulldog defenders before sending a perfect cross to Will. Will, the SCIAC’s leading scorer, added to her season total as she collected the ball with one dribble and sent a shot to back of the net for her second goal of the game and fourth for CLU.
With the two goals Wednesday night, Will now has 12 for the season. Virgen increased her season total five goals while Hulse improved her total to four.
Goalkeeper Kristin Bailey notched her eight shut-out of the year thanks in part to her defensive mates consisting of Stephanie Gilbert, Anna Medler, Kristen DiPippo and Mallory Carcich.
With the win, Cal Lutheran improves to 13-2 and stays atop the SCIAC leaderboard with a 9-0 record. Redlands falls to 6-3-1 and 5-3-1 in the SCIAC.
Cal Lutheran will be back in action next this Saturday, Oct. 13, when they host Pomona-Pitzer at 1:00 p.m. at Rolland Stadium.
Box Score: CLU 4, UR 0