REDLANDS, Calif. (Sept. 1, 2017) – The first game of intercollegiate women's soccer in Caltech history is in the books after a solid showing from the Beavers that included myriad impressive individual performances in a 5-0 defeat at the University of Redlands on Friday night.
The tireless energy of freshman Krystin Brown (Lake Forest, Calif. / Trabuco Hills) and steadiness of classmate Noelle Davis (Fort Worth, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math & Science) in midfield, physical presence of senior Caroline Atyeo (Parkland, Fla. / Marjory Stoneman Douglas) up top and stalwart defense by the rookie center back pairing of Nayla Abney (Sewell, N.J. / Deptford Township) and Rachel Sun (Tustin, Calif. / Beckman) provided the backbone for the Beavers throughout the game. Brown was ever-present in the first half in particular, while Atyeo held the ball and brought her teammates into play admirably, leading to several fouls drawn. Junior Hana Keller (Sammamish, Wash. / Tesla STEM) and freshman Maquelle Tiffany (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos) broke up a number of dangerous attacks with big clearances and rookie Netra Ravishankar (Fremont, Calif. / American) put serious pressure on the right back with multiple runs down the wing.
To the surprise of all in attendance, it was Caltech pushing the pace early and the Beavers nearly struck gold just five minutes in with the first real chance of the game. Atyeo drew one of many fouls about 30 yards out to give Brown a clear look on frame and the rookie fired a screamer off the crossbar.
The momentum shifted almost instantly as Redlands took the ball the other way and promptly scored on a tap-in rebound after sophomore Megan Durney (Escondido, Calif. / Escondido Charter) made a save on the Bulldogs' first shot of the game. Caltech fended off two corner kicks and cleared a ball off the line over the next 10 minutes, often bending under the offensive pressure from the hosts but just as frequently finding through balls to Atyeo and the wings once in possession to keep the Redlands back line busy.
Redlands finally increased the lead with two goals inside 30 seconds, sending a looping cross to the back post for another simple finish and firing another from the top left corner of the box to make it 3-0.
That prompted Caltech's first substitution and a slight formation change, which proved effective as the Beavers were able to keep the ball in the middle of the field for the majority of the last 15 minutes, allowing only a single other shot which went high.
Both teams came out for the second half with unchanged lineups, but this time the Bulldogs had the early run of play as Durney was called on to make another save after just three minutes. Eight Redlands substitutions and 20 minutes later, Redlands headed in a fourth goal as Durney was blocked by an attacker on a corner kick. Both teams made wholesale changes over the next 15 minutes before a final goal snuck through in the 88th minute.
Head Coach Taylor Houck and the Beavers return to Pasadena for their home opener against Chapman University (1-0) on Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 4 p.m.