Bearcats' 74 Game Home-Unbeaten Streak Broken by UC Santa Cruz, 1-0

SALEM — The Willamette University women’s soccer team’s 74 game home-unbeaten streak came to an end Friday when the University of California at Santa Cruz braved a cold and wet Sparks Field to defeat the Bearcats (2-1-1 overall, 1-0 NWC), 1-0.

One of the longest unbeaten streaks in the country, it lasted over seven season, two trips to the Division III National Tournament, six Northwest Conference titles and Willamette’s move from the NAIA to NCAA Division III. Jim Tursi has been the Bearcats head coach for the entire streak.

The last Bearcat loss on Sparks Field came in 1997 when Pacific University beat Willamette 2-1.

The Banana Slugs (5-2-2) scored the game’s only goal in the 23rd minute when forward Caitlin Carpenter converted a cross from Claire Gustafson, netting a 20-yard shot into the right corner of the goal.

As UCSC packed in its defense after taking the lead, the Bearcats still had a handful of good opportunities to score. Several balls slid just wide. But the Slugs’ defense held firm.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Bearcats as they head to the University of Puget Sound for a huge conference match-up with the No. 4 ranked team in the nation. Last season the Bearcats came away with a tie at UPS and dealt the Loggers their only loss of the regular season at Sparks Field.

“It’s a hard loss for us,” said Tursi. “But it wasn’t a conference game. If we win at UPS on Sunday, we forget all about this game and start a new streak.”

For the game, the Bearcats out-shot UCSC 12-9. Bearcat goalie Kari Woody had six saves. USCS goalie Katie Loomis had four.