Slugs fight to the end against the Tigers

Slugs fight to the end against the Tigers

STOCKTON,  CA -- The UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs took a big step up in class and travelled east to face the University of the Pacific. The Tigers restarted their program this year and were playing their first home game since 1985. Buoyed by the noisy sellout crowd, the resurrected Tigers pulled away for a 4-0 victory.

The Slugs fell to 6-3-1, but started off strong and were on even terms with their Division I hosts through the first 15 minutes.

Santa Cruz attackers Zach Hummel, Neal Hetzel, Sam Horton and Conrad Rowling kept possession and forced the Pacific goalie into some quick saves after getting open in the final third.

The momentum however swung quickly when Pacific's Andres Ochoa opened scoring in the 19th minute with a 25-yard shot to the upper right corner for the first goal.

Pacific had more possession for the rest of the first half and was able to score twice more before the break through a corner kick and when a long dribble on the left flank was tapped home in the box.

In the second half, the Tigers continued to use their quicker pace to pressure Santa Cruz, and it paid off after intercepting a ball on the right flank and scoring to make it 4-0.

With a half hour to go, coach Mike Runeare introduced some of his bench and the Slugs were able to match some the Tigers' pace and possession. The defense led by Ian Leung and Julio Demara were able to handle Pacific's attack before being subbed out.

The Slugs' last good chance to score came with under ten minutes to go, but after a cross from the left wing none of the Slugs could get at the scramble in front of UOP's goal.

Goalkeeper David Vivian finished with four saves saved his best for last: parrying a ten-yard shot over the bar with four minutes left to deny Pacific any more goals.

The Slugs return home to face UC Merced 3:30 Friday.