October 22, 2008

Slugs Fall in Final LA Trip

SANTA CRUZ, CA -- The UC Santa Cruz men's soccer team fell 3-0 to Chapman and 3-0 to the University of Redlands in their final road trip of the season. The two losses essentially eliminate the Slugs from their chance at a 6th consecutive trip to the NCAA Playoffs.

The Slugs suffered from some defensive miscues against Chapman and found themselves down 1-0 after 10 minutes. For the rest of the first half the Slugs were able to dominate possession and generate quality opportunities on goal, out-shooting the Panthers 10-5 in the first period. However, they were unable to find the equalizing goal in the first 45 min.

Chapman came out of the half-time ready to put the Slugs to the sword and again took advantage of some defensive miscommunication to take a 2-0 lead 3 minutes into the second half. Following the goal the Slugs responded well again generating very good chances on the Panther goal, the best coming from Matt Fondy (SO, Foster City, CA) who's point blank header was turned away by Chapman keeper Tyler Hadzinsky.

Then in the 82nd minute, against the run of of play Chapman were awarded a penalty kick after a hard challenge from UCSC defender Harrison Foster (SO, Woodland Hills, CA). Foster who received his second yellow card of the game for the challenge was also sent off for the play that was deemed reckless by the referee. Dalton Sweaney put the game beyond the Slugs with the converted penalty kick.

Next up on the trip was arch rival Redlands. Again the Slugs found themselves down early in the game. A goal from Alex Parker in the 12th minute and another from Ross Schunk in the 30th put the Slugs down 2-0 going into the half time break.

Coming out after the break, determined to turn the game around the Slugs made big strides in their possession and started to take the game to the Bulldogs. Their possession started to pay off as they generated several opportunities, but failed to convert in front of the goal. The game was put out of reach in the 70th min, by Nick Gundersen.

"It was a very disappointing trip for us," said Head Coach Dan Chamberlain. "We came into the weekend with a lot of hope and a run of good results. And the bottom line is that when the season was on the line we did not perform up to our potential. Last year we were faced with a similar situation when we traveled to Minnesota, the difference being that we went 2-0 to ensure that we made playoffs. I think that the difference in the two seasons is that last year we were leaning on 9 Seniors to perform in that situation. This year we are leaning on Sophomores and Freshman. We are a very young team and it shows at times, but it also gives me a lot of hope for the future of the program."