Pre Season Record: 13-5 Series Record: 9-2
End of Season Standing: 4th Northwest Regionals eliminated by University of British Columbia in the Backdoor Semifinal (12-13)
Coach: Daryl Nounnan (2007 – Present)
In 2010, UC-Santa Cruz was an experienced but young team whose core was made up of 3rd year players. After winning the Northwest Region in 2008, the Banana Slugs lost a large group of players to graduation. 2009 was a rebuilding year that saw the Slugs finish 5th in the region. Returning a majority of their 2009 core, expectations were high for UCSC gong into 2010.
After a disappointing regular season wrought with injuries, UCSC went into the Bay Area Sectional Tournament seeded 3rd. Finally healthy, they won the section and took the number two seed going into Regionals. The Slugs wound up finishing 4th at Northwest Regionals after a hard fought double game point loss to rivals UBC.
Roster Turnover and Offseason Club Experience:
UCSC returns 19 of its 23 players from 2010, including its entire offense. The only Series rotation players to graduate were defensive line players Ari Klevecz and Ben Josepher. In addition to the 19 returners, UCSC gains a valuable defensive line presence in Andrew Marsh, who will be using is 5th year of eligibility after playing four years at the University of Maryland.
Over the summer, two of UCSC’s 2010 captains, Cassidy Rasmussen and Russell Wynne, played with USAU Open Club Champions and WFDF Champions, Revolver. Possibly more noteworthy than the accomplishments of UCSC’s star players is the experience gained by the rest of the roster by playing club with local veterans. Having a roster with top to bottom club experience will add depth to the Slug roster for the first time since 2008.
On offense Santa Cruz has historically ran a side-stack pull play with multiple options, much in the same mold as Jam. They’ve also lived and died by the huck for the past 5 seasons. Defensively they’ve played force middle dating back to 2008, generating lots of turnovers against huck happy opponents. For D-line offense, the Slugs have loved the fast break looking to move the disc quickly off opponent miscues.
Fall 2010 Performance:
The only notable pre-season tournament that took place in the new Southwest Region this year was UCSC’s home tournament, the Sean Ryan Memorial. Sean Ryan was pretty much a Southwest Region preview with every contending team aside from San Diego State University and the University of Arizona in attendance. UCSC rolled through pool play and won three hard games on Sunday to win the tournament.
Scheduled Regular Season Tournaments:
Santa Barbara, Kaimana Klassic (non USAU), Stanford Invite, Centex (possibly)
After a strong early season, and with their depth of experience, expectations are once again high for UCSC. Unfortunately for the Slugs, there is a lot of depth in the new Southwest Region. The Slugs were able to finish 4th in a strong Northwest region last year with pretty much the same roster that they carry this year. Given their past success, and their Sean Ryan win, anything short of a spot at the USAU College Championships should be a disappointment for the Slugs.