The men and women’s basketball teams held their opening day doubleheader on Nov. 15 as both teams looked to start strong and improve on last year’s records.
The men’s team opened their season against the University of Dallas Crusaders. The Slugs came out strong in the first half with a strong defensive attitude and battled neck and neck for the lead with the Crusaders, taking a three-point lead into halftime.
The energy in the room was electric and the players were feeding off it as fans filled the stands and the Soquel High School band entertained from the baseline bleachers. The men’s volleyball team sat courtside supporting their fellow Slugs and heckling the opposing team.
“It’s surreal [to play in the stadium]. This is what you dream of, the lights off and coming out to the disco ball, them announcing your name. It’s what you think of, but a very high expectation, and it actually got to happen for us so that’s pretty cool,” said junior on the women’s basketball team Ashley Holmes.
In the men’s game the Slugs sent out a starting five of Matthew Ponce, Jared Ponce, James Townsend, Kyle Creighton and Andrew Jones. Creighton and Jones are new additions to the team while the rest of the starting lineup returned from last year.
Matthew Ponce made some big plays late to keep the Slugs in the game, drawing three fouls and scoring 16 of his 22 points in the second half, but the Slugs lost momentum in the last five minutes and never stopped the bleeding, ultimately losing to Dallas 64-57.
“We had a good game, the crowd was great, we really appreciate everybody coming out. We lost it there at the end and we should have had them, but we’re going to bounce back the next couple of games so we will be alright,” Ponce said.
Later in the day the women played the Cardinals of St. John Fisher. From the beginning the Slugs came out strong, setting the tone on their way to a blowout victory over the Cardinals. The Slugs took a 32-19 lead into the locker room at halftime and never looked back. The team rolled to a 73-41 win thanks to strong showings by senior forwards Leah Parrish and Sarah Mackey who combined for 37 points and 25 rebounds on the day.
The team is carrying six seniors this year and returning 13 players in all, with only one major contributor from last year’s 18-7 squad — Taylor Willis — graduating.
“All of our seniors are animals and the team is really going to miss them next year, because they are a big part of the team,” Holmes said.
The men’s team played again on Monday when they took on Redlands, winning 57-55 in overtime. The game was neck and neck during regulation as defense prevailed and both teams struggled to find the basket. With 1.1 seconds left in the second period and the scored tied at 46, the Slugs sent Redlands’ center Kyle Milligan to the line for two shots. Milligan missed both shots sending the game into overtime.
The game stayed competitive through overtime until Ponce hit a three to bring the score to 57-55 and the Bulldogs were unable to answer back.
Later on Monday, the women’s team held their second game of the weekend against Cal Lutheran, winning 73-48 in another lopsided contest in which Mackey and Parish again led the way from the front court.
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