ORANGE, CA--Friday night in Orange County brought hard shots and heartache for the Slug Men. Independent rivals, Chapman University in Orange County CA, seemed to be a tough opponent to put away for the Slugs this weekend. With a loss in the final minutes of overtime the Slug men may just see their post-season hopes disappear.
The first minutes of the match saw the Chapman Panthers come out real strong with something to prove from last years OT defeat from the Slugs last season, and a 3-1 loss in the beginning of the 2010 season. The Panthers came out with VERY high pressure and adrenaline pumping, pulling out turnovers and over 3 hard shots to goalkeeper Matt Pereira of the Slugs. However, after the first few minutes of the Panther storm, the Slugs settled into their game and saw much of the ball. The next 90 or so minutes saw possession and attacking from the Slugs, and counterattacking from the Panthers. However, neither team could convert their chances and the game seemed destine for overtime.
Through the first OT it seemed inevitable that either the Slugs would get the victory, or the game would end in a tie. Neither of the previous dreams came to be true in the end however, as the Panthers scrapped together some extreme heroics. As the ball was turned over by the Slugs in the midfield, one of the Panther players slotted a ball through the Slug defense on a quick counter. UCSC's keeper, Matt Pereira was forced to come off his line to the top corner of the box to defend the pass, but saw the ball and the Panther striker bounce off him and into space. A neighboring Panther teammate quickly pounced on the ball before it reached the touchline, turned his body, and shot a 35 yard curled pass/shot over all 3 Slug defenders into the back upper corner of the net for a dramatic win. A devastated UCSC Men's squad stood jaw dropped and stunned as their post-season dreams may have vanished along with the win they thought they were to achieve at Chapman. The Slugs now look to Sunday where they will finish the rest of their road trip against Cal Lutheran, in hopes of at least keeping good favor in the minds of the nation to make the national tournament.