The UC Santa Cruz women’s soccer team lost an away game to Chapman 2-1 in overtime on Oct. 7. It marked the second time this season that UCSC has lost to Chapman by one goal after their defeat at home 1-0 on Sept. 8.

Head Coach Emily Scheese said she believed the game to be a tough, hard-fought loss for the Banana Slugs, who were coming off a three-game win streak. Her post-game comments focused on her team’s valiant effort.

“We had an unfortunate penalty kick against us, which was converted, but we battled back,” Scheese said. “My team was literally covered in sweat, blood, turf burns and the tears of the beating Orange County sun.”

This season, the Banana Slugs are now 7-6 with a 7-3 Division III record. The team was ranked No. 1 in California for Division III and No. 3 in the West in the National Soccer Coaches of America Association’s rankings for the week of Oct. 2.

While the team will be in line for a slight fall in playoff rankings after the loss, the Banana Slugs will have built a case for entry to NCAA Regionals with recent wins over Cal Lutheran, Mills and Austin College, each held scoreless.

The Banana Slugs plan to continue their success in NCAA Regionals. Last year, UCSC punctuated their season by recording an upset win over Cal Lutheran, who was ranked the No. 10 team in the nation.

The Slugs advanced to the second round where they ultimately lost in overtime to Concordia Moorehead.

Co-captain Brooke Atkinson said last season’s playoff win against Cal Lutheran was an achievement for the team, but pointed out that they have already beaten Cal Lutheran this season.

Scheese said beating Cal Lutheran during regular season play was key.

“This was a goal we aimed for this season as we did not beat Cal Lutheran at all in the regular season in 2011,” Scheese said. “It was high on the agenda for 2012.”

Two seasons ago, the Banana Slugs lost their senior captain to injury. They finished the season with a win-loss record of 1-13-2, and missed their first playoffs since 2006. Atkinson said during their disappointing 2010–11 season, they focused on continued improvement.

“Our approach turned into the mindset that you just look to improve every game,” Atkinson said. “[The team] was so upset about that season that [they] just wanted to win.”

Last season, the players succeeded in getting to the playoffs. This year the team has bigger plans.

Sophomore forward Sarah Sadler, the team’s leading goal scorer this season, said she has confidence in her team’s ability.

“We made it to the second round,” Sadler said. “We want to build on that and I think we can do that with the players we have this year.”