It’s not an ordinary game when Slugs play against Slugs. When the UC Santa Cruz women’s soccer team hosts their alumni, players expect fierce competition. On Saturday, the current women’s soccer team won a 3-1 toss up against UCSC alumni.
The game was an intense affair for the players. The current team, wearing blue home uniforms against the alumni’s white away jerseys, displayed greater defense and offense. In the second half alone, the blue team mustered up multiple chances to open up a bigger lead, with players continually finding good position in front of goal. Although the team did not score again, the quick upfield runs indicated a greater potential for the current team.
“They have great communication,” Erica Wheeler-Dubin, 2011 alumni midfielder said. “They all connect together, and they have great leadership and support.”
On defense, the blue team held the white team to one goal by defenders, pushing the ball to the left flank and forcing the alumni team to pass backwards more regularly. The defensive scheme made the field smaller, limiting a quick passing alumni squad to shooting several shots from farther out.
The Slugs look to spend their offseason by gaining a better possession game. Good passing will be key for The Slugs, who are looking to get more scoring chances. The team had a dry spell from early to mid October this year with 4 goalless games in a row, before ending the regular season with a 5-0 onslaught against Mills College and a 9-6-2 record, good enough to enter NCAA playoffs.
In the postseason, The Slugs shocked a favored Cal Lutheran team in a 1-0 overtime game, before falling to Concordia Moorehead in extra time, 2-1. Freshman forward Sarah Sadler believes The Slugs’ season will be a harbinger of future success.
“We had a good season,” Sadler said. “Now we’re focusing on going deeper into the playoffs.”
The alumni game is an annual tradition held to foster relations between alumni and the current team. Although they were the losing side, alumni players asserted that in previous years the game had been much closer. Sadler enjoyed the friendly, yet competitive nature of the game.
“It was interesting playing in this game because I didn’t know any of the old players going in,” Sadler said. “A lot of the upperclassmen were excited because they got to play with their friends again.”
Sadler explained that the game was a good test of team improvements.
“We’ve already improved in our playing, and we were showing it at this game,” Sadler said. “We keep each other accountable.”
For the alumni, the three goals scored by the current team were seen as testament to the team’s offensive capabilities.
“The team is playing the best I’ve seen since I played,” 2006 alum and UCSC goals record holder, Annick Lamb said. “I come back every year, and I’m surprised by how good they are this year. They have serious potential.”