Banana Slugs fall late 3-1 to Bearcats in home opener

Banana Slugs fall late 3-1 to Bearcats in home opener

SANTA CRUZ (9-6) – UC Santa Cruz started a two-match homestand as they hosted Willamette University at Lower East Field. The Bearcats used two second half goals to defeat the Banana Slugs 3-1.  

The loss extended the Banana Slugs' (0-3) losing streak to three while Willamette improves to 2-1.

For the second consecutive match, the first half was played at a back-and-forth pace for the majority of the half. The Bearcats had a 4-3 advantage in shots in the half. The final chance in the half for the Banana Slugs to score was off the foot of Cole Fox but his shot was saved by Bearcats' goalie Mason Kelliher. With fifty two seconds left in the half however, Ryan Sato converted a penalty kick after a scramble in the box to give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead at the half.

In the second half, the back and forth pace continued. With 28:11 left in the match, Nicholas Ballenger tapped the ball into the back of the net from five yards out to extend the Bearcats' lead to 2-0. The Bearcats would tack on another goal with 12:42 left off the foot of Mack van der Velde to extend their lead to 3-0. With 9:19 left, Ari Statler kicked a rocket into the back of the net to trim the Bearcats' lead to 3-1. 

Keith McCarty had a match high two shots to lead the Banana Slugs while for Willamette, Nicholas Ballenger and Max Berner-Hays also had a match high two shots apiece. Both teams had nine shots apiece and the Bearcats had four more corner kicks (5-1) than did the Banana Slugs.

The Banana Slugs will take on Albion College on Sunday at noon.