Leopards rebound with SCIAC victory

Campus Times
October 4, 2002

photo by Jennifer Contreras

ULV senior midfielder Josh Miller (No. 15) goes head to head with sophomore defender Chad Greenwood (No. 15) of Occidental on Saturday's game. Senior Brandon Karmann (No. 18) helped the Leopards keep the lead in the first half of the game, but Occidental tied them in the second half, leading to a sudden death overtime. ULV lost the game by one goal.

by Gloria Diaz
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The University of La Verne men's soccer team faced off against Whittier Wednesday. The Leopards would find for their first win of the season against the Poets.

A penalty kick for ULV in the first half sent midfielder Josh Miller to the line.

Josh went to the right, but the Whittier goalie guessed wrong and went to the left, allowing the Leopards to take the lead.

The score remained 1-0 throughout the first half.

Whittier was awarded a chance to score by the referee on a penalty kick in the second half. But sophomore goalkeeper Louis Mendoza came up huge for the Leopards and blocked the Poet's attempt. This save kickstarted Leopard morale in the second half.

"The team was playing well and I really wanted to stop it so we could get the victory," Mendoza said.

In the second half, La Verne found itself unable to convert on many scoring chances, including many crosses by Miller and senior midfielder Nathan Chabolla.

These missed opportunities would not return to haunt the Leopards, though, as the defense, led by many saves by Mendoza, held strong.

Miller's first-half goal would stand as the game-winner.

By the end of the game, the score would stay at 1-0, thus bringing ULV its first victory for the 2002 season.

Saturday's game against Occidental proved to be a test of strength and endurance for both teams. However, ULV was unable to clinch a win in its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference home opener; the Leopards lost 2-1 in double overtime.

The first half was marked by hit or miss efforts from both teams.

The first goal of the game came from Chabolla in the 17th minute.

Forward Edgar Manzo assisted Chabolla to put the Leopards on the scoreboard.

ULV's second half goal keeper Mendoza led the pack with six blocks against Oxy's goal attempts.

"The first half was great; we played real well," starting senior goalie Derek Ramirez said. "Nathan finished on a goal; it's about time we got someone to score. Our defense did real well."

Another noteworthy player was defender John Helmer, who captained the Leopard defense.

The blocking power from Mendoza in the second half was not enough to stop Oxy from scoring.

They scored in the 28th minute of the second half, tying the game at 1-1.

At the end of the second half, the game was still tied, sending it into sudden death overtime, where the game winner would be decided. Whoever scored first was to be the winner.

Once the first overtime period began, the game became more intense than in regulation. Both teams attempted to score a number of times. There were no goals scored, and the game went into a second round of overtime.

Shortly into the second overtime period, Oxy's Rossell Cibrian and Brian Ford slipped the ball past ULV defenders and Mendoza to make them the victors of ULV's SCIAC home opener by a score of 2-1.

"Stepan Karakesisoglu really stepped it up to get the team to believe that they could win," said Max Gebhardt, assistant coach.

Although head coach Cres Gonzalez was satisfied with his team's performance, he sees room for improvement in overall control of the ball.

"We need to possess the ball; we need to knock the ball around," said Gonzalez.

The Williams Fire, which started in the Angeles National Forest and spread into the mountains above La Verne, caused unhealthful air quality for the La Verne community. This led to the cancellation of the Sept. 25 soccer match against Pomona-Pitzer and to the modification of practices for the rest of the week.

"It gave us the chance to rest a little bit. We have been struggling a little to get caught up physically," Gonzalez said.

This brings the Leopards' record to 1-5.

ULV will face Caltech at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Pasadena. ULV has a definite chance of becoming 2-2 in SCIAC with a win against the Beavers. ULV's next home match is against Claremont-Mudd Scripps at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ben Hines Field. The Stags are presently atop the SCIAC standings.