Banana Slugs can't overcome early deficit in 4-1 loss to Cal Lutheran in NCAA Tournament

Banana Slugs can't overcome early deficit in 4-1 loss to Cal Lutheran in NCAA Tournament

THOUSAND OAKS, CA (11-16) - UC Santa Cruz lost to 23rd-ranked Cal Lutheran 4-1 in the First Round of the 2019 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament.

The Banana Slugs end their historic season at 13-4-2.

Cal Lutheran went up 3-0 in the first 19 minutes against UCSC, opening with a goal in the third minute.

"We talked at halftime the score not defining us, but the way we play defining us," said head coach Lauren Nadler afterwards. "And I thought we did a much better job in the second half
staying true to the type of soccer that we play."

Despite the first half deficit, UCSC controlled the run of play against the hosts in the first part of the second half. The offensive pressure paid off in the 53rd minute when Karina Bulli got free near the top of the box and sent a rocket past CLU goalie Gabby Flores. It was Bulli's team-high tenth score on the year and pulled the Banana Slugs within 3-1.

However, the Regals struck back less than three minutes later, earning a penalty that Zandra Stewart converted.

UCSC continued the pressure but couldn't add another goal. The Banana Slugs had three shots in the 85th minute, their last attempt coming from senior Carly Cooper that Flores safely smothered.

The Banana Slugs finished with a 12-9 shot advantage over the Regals, who play SCIAC rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Sunday for the right to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

UCSC finishes with 68 goals on the season, second-highest in program history.