|Women’s soccer still seeks 1st win|
|Posted Sept. 28, 2007|
Loaded with a young roster, the University of La Verne women’s soccer team has still competed valiantly this season despite being winless in eight matches.
The Leopards lost another tough game at Ben Hines Field on Sunday to La Sierra, 3-0.
In the first half, La Sierra pushed ahead early with a goal by sophomore Starlena Murray in the 24th minute to make the score, 1-0.
Later in the second half, freshman Shannon Seibert scored in the 49th minute and Murray added another goal in the 76th minute to solidify the game for the Golden Eagles.
The Leopards were unable to capitalize on nine shots on goal in comparison to three goals on 10 shots by the Golden Eagles.
Senior captain Laura Larsen nearly put ULV on the score sheet in the 40th minute with a shot that was narrowly blocked by La Sierra goalkeeper Jocelyn Bennett.
Still, the efforts were not enough to reel in the first victory in their first home game of the season.
“The score does not really show our skill and how well we played on Sunday,” Larsen said. “Luck was just not on our side that day.”
With nine games left on the schedule, the Leopards are still learning from each other and hoping to make a recovery from struggles stemming from the beginning of the year.
“We have a very young team but everyone has to take a role in order for us to be successful,” said senior midfielder/defender Ana Kaviani. “Communication is the biggest thing we need to improve so we know what everyone is doing on the field.”
Still, the team is encouraged about the gradual steps of improvement the team has taken even with the loss to the Golden Eagles on Sunday.
“I haven’t seen our team play any better than we did against (La Sierra),” said junior midfielder/forward Lauren Vanga. “I think since we hit that point, we should start getting goals in the back of the net.”
On Wednesday, the Leopards played their second consecutive home game of the season against Pomona-Pitzer.
The score was deadlocked entering the second half until Larsen received a pass from sophomore defender Danielle Sumlin and scored in the 57th minute for the Leopards.
It was Larsen’s first goal of the campaign and gave La Verne lead for almost 10 minutes of regulation.
However the Leopards’ defense was unable to hold on as Sagehen forward Angie Martinez scored the equalizer in the 68th minute to even the score at 1-1.
The game remained close and was a back and forth struggle for the remaining time in the second half.
In the first overtime, both teams had scoring opportunities but were unable to capitalize with goals.
Both teams rotated goalkeepers as freshman Caitlin Kams started the game for the Leopards and sophomore Amanda West finished the game in the net.
Kams and West combined for 11 saves throughout the match while the Sagehens only registered one save.
West and Kams were also able to hold off 26 of the Sagehens’ 27 shots on goal with good defense in addition to the strong saves made.
In the second overtime, West made two crucial saves while the Sagehens attacked the Leopards’ goal.
It was a physical game for both sides as well since both teams finished in double digits in fouls.
Both teams made multiple substitutions to keep their players fresh and energized for the remainder of the game.
The Leopards had a few chances to score the game winning goal in extra time.
Yet most of their runs for goal were unable to result in getting shots off or making strong passes to keep the Sagehens’ defense off balance.
The offense continues to be the Achilles’ heel for the Leopards as they only tallied seven shots in the game which includes Larsen’s goal in the first half.
La Verne has still been unable to establish their offense with their lack of true forwards and speed in front line.
As a result, several players have had to adjust and play out of their preferred positions to aid the offense and the rest of the team.
Nonetheless, the young squad is making strides in improving every match and getting closer and closer to their first win of the season.
The Leopards hope to get that first victory tomorrow on the road against Whittier in another Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match up with kicks off at 11 a.m.
Following their game against the Poets, the Leopards face eight consecutive conference contests. Four of those games will be held in the friendly confines of Ben Hines Field.
The Leopards will then face Occidental, Redlands, ClaremontMudd-Scripps and Chapman to start their October schedule.
Farther down the road, the squad will then look to make a splash in the SCIAC Tournament, beginning on Nov. 2.
Galo Pesantes can be reached at email@example.com.