By Samantha Thompson
There was only one word left on the lips of UC Santa Cruz women’s soccer fans after Sunday’s home game: “Wow.”
The Slugs dominated Dominican University on their home field and came out with a final score of 6-0, the most goals they’ve scored in a single game this season. After coming off a tough overtime win on Saturday against rivals CSU East Bay, the Slugs came out strong and did not let down until the final whistle blew.
“This is what we try to get to every game,” Coach Mike Runeare said. “And today it just clicked.”
After a goal by senior and captain Annick Lamb in the first minute of play, UCSC maintained possession on Dominican’s end of the field for most of the game. Multiple shots on goal resulted in four more goals in ten minutes, giving the Slugs a 5-0 lead going into the second half.
“We weren’t expecting to cream them,” said freshman Erica Wheeler-Dubin, who scored two goals. “But we know that we need to come out every game and fight. We can’t take anything for granted.”
Despite the team’s sizeable lead, Coach Runeare’s advice at halftime echoed his usual words of encouragement, emphasizing the importance of maintaining quick play and keeping the intensity level up.
“We play the game as if there are two games in one,” said senior goalkeeper and captain Katie Loomis. “And going into the second half, it’s always 0-0.”
The big lead gave the team a chance to put more players out on the field who don’t usually get as much playing time in regular season games, including two alternate goalkeepers.
“We always like to get everyone in the game,” said senior and captain Didi Ramirez, who also had a goal that day. “We want to get some good competition in other than just playing against each other during practice.”
But all the practice paid off on Sunday, as the team executed many of the key skills that have been the focus of workouts in the past week. Quick touches and good ball movement kept the game in the Slugs’ control and gave them one final goal in the second half, scored by sophomore Katie Von Beroldingen.
After giving up only a handful of goals last season, the Slugs now look to create more shutout opportunities like this one and to stay dominant when they play on Slug territory.
“One of our biggest goals this year is to go undefeated on our home field,” Loomis said. “And knock on wood, so far, we’ve been doing that.”
The Slugs, now 8-2-2 overall, will travel to Chapman on Friday, where they expect a tough fight.
“They’ll be pumped,” Runeare said. “They’re an independent team like we are, and they’ll be trying to knock us down since we beat them last time.”
With the success the team has had so far this season, playoffs seem to be not too far out of reach.
Still, the Slugs are staying focused on their few remaining games, and will begin thinking about playoffs only after they’ve successfully completed their regular season.
“Playoffs are definitely looking hopeful,” Ramirez said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed, though.”