Pair of penalties from Gutierrez, strike from Gonzalez lead UC Santa Cruz past UC Merced 3-1

Gutierrez(10) supplied the game-winning goals on a pair of penalties
Gutierrez(10) supplied the game-winning goals on a pair of penalties

SANTA CRUZ (10-29) Maya Gonzales blasted her fifth goal of the season and junior Izel Gutierrez scored on two penalties as UC Santa Cruz defeated UC Merced 3-1 in the regular season finale on Tuesday.

UCSC outshot the Bobcats 12-9 to improve to 11-3-2.

The game benefited the vs. Cancer Foundation for Pediatric Cancer. Before the game, the schools presented representatives of the charity with a check.

UCSC came out firing early, and it paid off in the 10th minute when Gonzales got on a pass from Katie Herm and blasted it from the right side for the opening goal.

The Banana Slugs doubled their advantage in the 31st minute when Gutierrez sent UC Merced goalkeeper Ally Lozano the wrong way on a penalty to make it 2-0.

The Bobcats pulled one back 7:21 after halftime when Jenn Salinger pounced on an errant clearance in the box and scored to make it 2-1.

That goal put the game on a faster pace as both teams raced at each other for the next goal. It was UCSC who benefited as Karina Bulli was brought down in the box in the 68th minute. Once again, Gutierrez stepped up and although Lozano guessed right this time, she couldn't stop the shot and the Slugs restored their two-goal advantage.

Salinger had another chance to pull UCM within one again with seven minutes left, but her half volley from 14 yards was parried wide by Alyssa Diaz-Tucker. UCSC cleared the resulting corner and controlled possession for the rest of the game.

The Banana Slugs next hosts the American Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament, taking on Pratt Institute November 2nd at 11am.