While fall classes may have just begun for students, the soccer season for both the men and women Slugs is well underway. With their respective seasons starting back in August, Slug soccer is looking to finish their seasons strong.
For the women’s team, the Slugs started their season on the road in Minnesota with a game versus Concordia College, who entered the season ranked No. 17 by the NCAA Division III. Freshman midfielder Megan Carey said this 2-1 win was the biggest of the season because it was against a high ranked team and the Slugs did not have much experience playing together that early in the season.
“The toughest obstacle that the team had to deal with was the fact that we didn’t get much time to practice together with all of the new and returning players before games started,” Carey said. “We had tryouts and then less than a week later we were on the road to our first game. So it was a little difficult to adjust to that.”
With the season starting strong for the women’s team, their success continued into their home Slugfest Tournament, going 1-1-1 with a win versus Willamette University in the final game. They currently hold a 6-4-1 record.
Carey and senior Justice Dougherty — who have six and five goals respectively this season — offensively lead UCSC. On the defensive side, sophomore Gabby Trujillo took over the lead goalie position this season and has an .818 save percentage.
“One of the main team goals for this season is to focus on each game at a time instead of just paying attention to the tougher opponents in the long run,” Carey said.
While the women are looking strong into the playoffs, the men’s team got off to a rough start early in the season which hurt their chances of making it into the NCAA tournament. However, they broke a losing streak of six losses on Sept. 17 against Pacific University with a 1-0 win on the road.
“The season has been a frustrating one so far,” said junior midfielder Daniel Tirosh. “Coming into the season we had aspirations of challenging on the national level. Unfortunately, we lost a few close games at the beginning of the season that had our record looking a lot worse than we feel it should be.”
However, the Slugs are working on building off their recent strong play despite their 1-8-1 record. With a recent 2-2 tie versus Menlo College, head coach Michael Runeare said the Slugs need to continue strong offense in order to win more games.
“We are not having a season with good results. It’s below expectations and not traditionally what our program has been about,” Runeare said. “But we are playing better every game … things are looking up.”
Tirosh said that the team is working on “putting the ball in the back of the net” and winning more games late in the season. He is also looking toward next season when the team will be stronger and more experienced.
The men’s team has an upcoming home game on Oct. 9 against Holy Names University, who are 1-5 in their season. The women are celebrating Senior Day on Oct. 4 versus William Jessup University for their last home game of the regular season.
With various losses and victories behind them, the men’s and women’s soccer teams are both looking foward to a strong finish in the season.