Riding the momentum of back-to-back Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament championships, the University of Redlands men's soccer team battled it out against the Washington University (St. Louis) Bears in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships in Greencastle, Indiana, on Saturday night. Despite wintry temperatures and a two-goal deficit through 71 minutes, the Maroon and Gray battled its way back to tie it in regulation and force overtime. With the score knotted at two apiece after 110 minutes, the Bulldogs finally punched their ticket to the second round of the playoffs with an exciting 4-3 advantage in the shoot-out, as junior defender Keoni Yates (Kailua-Kona, HI) knocked in the deciding penalty kick for the Maroon and Gray.
The first frame was fairly evenly matched, as WashU took five shots and Redlands fired off seven. Junior midfielder Casey ChubbFertal (Eugene, OR) and junior forward Alexander Knox (Seattle, WA) led the Bulldogs with two shots each.
In an eight-minute span in the middle of the second half, the Bears slotted two goals to force the Bulldogs to turn up the intensity and battle from behind for the remainder of the contest.
With determination in their eyes, the Bulldogs worked the ball to WashU's defensive third and earned a corner kick in the 75th minute. Senior midfielder Isaac Bogart (Lynden, WA) placed a beautiful ball high and in front of the goal that found the head of ChubbFertal for the score.
Still down a goal with less than 15 minutes to go, the Maroon and Gray remained relentless in creating offensive chances. In déjà vu fashion, Bogart took another corner kick that ChubbFertal headed out of the air for the equalizer in the 78th minute.
Although Redlands took six more shots to close out the second half, the game headed to overtime with a 2-2 tie through 90 minutes of action.
The Bulldogs blasted off four shots to WashU's one in the first extra frame. Redlands' defense took care of business on the backline but complemented the team's offensive-minded play as well. Junior Ben Thompson (Spokane, WA) and Yates accounted for two of the Maroon and Gray's late-game shots.
Junior midfielder Sergio Valencia (San Jose, CA) blasted off a great attempt in the 106th minute, forcing WashU's goalie to make a nice save. In the 110th minute, the second overtime buzzer sounded, sending the game into Redlands' first penalty kicks of the year.
After WashU took a 2-1 lead in the shootout, it was up to Knox, sophomore midfielder Jesus Avalos (Indio, CA), and Yates to convert their opportunities, with the pressure also on junior goalkeeper Josh Haskill (Lakewood, CA), who stepped in during the PKs, to make at least one save. With composure and skill, everything came together for the Bulldogs, who walked away as the advancing team with a 4-3 tally in penalty kicks.
Watch the postgame interview.
With this crazy result, the Bulldogs move on to the second round of the NCAA tournament to face host school DePauw University (IN) at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 13, in Reavis Stadium in Greencastle.