By Toan P. Do
The UC Santa Cruz women’s soccer team suffered a 2–1 loss against Biola University after losing an early lead on Monday afternoon.
The game was close, evenly matched and very physical as players of both teams sprinted hard and showed that they were no strangers to slide tackles and elbows. Ultimately, a breakdown of a newly implemented defensive system battling against the offense of an unfamiliar opponent resulted in the Slugs’ loss.
“We have a new defensive structure where we have a 4-3-2-1 Christmas tree pattern,” freshman midfielder Chloe Rose said. “We push everything to the outside so they can’t get [the ball] in, and we are trying to pressure [the other team] by putting as many people on the ball as possible.”
Rose and her teammates were confident going into Monday’s game against Biola, despite coming off a nine-day lay off from their last game and boasting a new defensive strategy.
Despite the outcome, the team remained poised and focused.
“We just want to go into our practices harder,” senior and team captain Alec Drew said. “We just kind of want to blow this game off and focus on the next game and come out harder and more as a unit ready to play.”
The Slugs began the game with discipline.
“Our intention was to play really structured defense maintaining our shape, and from that being in a good position when we won the ball to go forward,” head coach Michael Runeare said. “I think we did that for the first 15 to 20 minutes really well.”
The Slugs took an early 1–0 lead when senior forward Annick Lamb scored the first goal. Unfortunately, one goal is how the Slugs would begin and end the game. By halftime, the game was tied at 1–1. About five minutes into the second half, a Biola forward scored the team’s second and winning goal.
Amid the chaos of red and white jerseys flying by, blurring with contact and often rolling on the ground, Runeare diagnosed the main issues facing the team.
“I think that one is, we had the lead, so once we have the lead we have to figure out how to maintain that advantage,” Runeare said. “We also didn’t do a very good job on our restarts and that was evident when we didn’t create any opportunities off them. [Biola] actually committed quite a few fouls and we didn’t come up with anything threatening off them, so I think we have to get better and a little more organized.”
Looking toward the future, the Slugs expect to go into practice harder as they work on refining their newly implemented defensive strategy and preparing for their highly anticipated game against rivals Cal State East Bay tomorrow.
“We’ve reached the third phase of the season, in which we have been working up to this point to identify our style of play,” Runeare said. “[This is a] crucial part of the season that we need to win.”