MERCED, CA _In their first-ever visit to Merced, UC Santa Cruz couldn't overcome two first-half goals in a 3-1 loss to Cal-Pac leader UC Merced.
UCSC fell to 5-10-1. UC Merced improved to 11-2-3.
Due to the wet weather, the Senior Day game was moved 7 miles from the UCM campus to McNamara Park's artificial turf.
The Bobcats however made the place feel like home right away. Elizabeth Cruz got on the board 40 seconds into the game to make it 1-0 for the hosts. The deficit was doubled seven minutes later when Daisy Bonilla put away Cruz's corner kick.
The Slugs fought back and Claire Lim scored her third goal of the year 18:34 before halftime to make the score 2-1.
"After our slow start, the team was energized by Claire's goal and rallied together to get back into the game," said head coach Emily Scheese.
"I think we produced a much better quality second half led by standout play from our captains."
The Banana Slugs almost tied it on a wild sequence 38 minutes from the end. Lim took a corner and then got in on the scramble, but her shot went off the crossbar. Kacie Ring's rebound was then scooped up by the UC Merced goalkeeper.
The Bobcats however got an insurance goal with 22 minutes left when Bridget Villanueva knocked it in for the final score.
UCSC had two chances for another goal near the end, but both Ring's header and Taylor Keenan's shot went high.
Merced had a 17-11 shot advantage. Goalie Athena Del Rosario finished with five saves, moving her to second all-time at UCSC for saves in a single season.
UCSC closes their season Saturday afternoon at home against Mills College at 3pm.