The La Verne men’s soccer team held Redlands to a 0-0 tie last Saturday in Redlands.
La Verne came out early placing pressure on the Bulldogs but could not cash in on any scoring opportunities. In the second half the Bulldogs came out more active but were unable to score as well, a testament to the improving La Verne defense.
However the tie broke all hopes of La Verne making the playoffs.
“Although we tied it was a big step for our program compared to how we have played against Redlands in previous matches,” forward Edgar Manzo said.
The tie definitely was a step in the right direction as far as competing with the elite of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition.
“I don’t play to tie but this gave everybody confidence and shows that we can compete in the top level of SCIAC,” junior midfielder Gilad Hoffman said. “The tie hurt us though…we win that game and the rest of our games we have a chance to make playoffs.”
Although both Manzo and Hoffman were disappointed with the loss, the tie tells a great deal of the progress for the team.
“Teams came in this year thinking that they could beat us pretty easily but if you come in to our home you have to work for that win,” Manzo said.
“Our defense has been solid this year,” midfielder Ruben Trujillo said.
“We would not be in third place if it was not for our defense and it’s because of the trust we have with one another,” he added.
Despite the tie and the progress the team has made during the year, the current seniors on the team will not be able to see the team improve even more next year when they are gone.
“Most of the guys on the team are happy with our year,” Hoffman said.
“The rest of the season is building for next year. I feel bad for the seniors because it’s heartbreaking for them.”
The Leopards have three games left in the season hoping to end the year on a high note. With games against Occidental, Cal Lutheran and Whittier, the Leopards will have their work cut out for them.
“Oxy is always a real physical game, it’s become a little bit of a rivalry,” Hoffman said. “We have to prove that we can play with these teams and send our seniors out with a win.”
Trujillo also noted that Occidental tends to play questionable soccer.
“We really can’t sink to their level when we play,” Trujillo said.
Team captain Gilad Hoffman has decided to dedicate these last three games to the seniors.
It’s the last time they will be seeing the field.
“We went from a team that lost almost all of our games to a competitive team with a lot of heart,” Manzo said.
“I am very proud to be a part of this because I helped in rebuilding this program,” he added.
ULV will continue SCIAC action against Cal Lutheran at 7 p.m., tomorrow at Ben Hines Field in La Verne.
Mike Senyo can be reached at email@example.com.