The men’s soccer team defeated Cal Lutheran, 2-1, on Halloween night and then defeated Whittier, 3-0, on Wednesday.
The wins placed the Leopards in second place and in position to possibly make the playoffs as a wild card team.
The 3-0 victory over the Poets proved clutch in that ULV needed the win to
remain in second place and keep playoff hopes alive. The Leopards were in control of the game scoring two goals in the first half and one in the second with the defense keeping Whittier in check all evening.
However, ULV would have never been in the position against Whittier without securing a victory over Cal Lutheran on Halloween night.
“This was the first game where a lot of us were nervous,” junior captain Gilad Hoffman said, referring to the game against Cal Lu. “No one expected us to be here.”
The scoring started with Edgar Manzo leading Ruben Trujillo who put it past the Cal Lu goalkeeper for an early 1-0 lead.
Manzo struck again in the 33rd minute putting the Leopards up, 2-0. Late
in the first half, Cal Lu scored but that was all the ULV defense would allow.
“This was the biggest game of our college careers,” junior midfielder
Daniel Aguirre said. “If we lose, we look pathetic coming in fourth…we all knew what we had to do.”
Cal Lu talked a good game but was unable to get it past Leopard goal keeper Cody Black. Black recorded 10 saves on the evening.
“This was our biggest win all season playing for second,” Edgar Manzo said. “We’ve come a long way these past few years.”
The men’s soccer program has come a long way indeed with finishes in sixth place, fifth place, and now second in recent years.
“This is a pretty incredible finish,” Aguirre said. “And we’re only losing two seniors this year.”
Although the win places the Leopards in second place, there is some added pressure to stay there.
“We knew Cal Lu would not mean anything if we didn’t beat Whittier,” Hoffman said. “My job is to make sure that we didn’t take them lightly. We know we couldn’t show up and expect to walk all over them.”
The victory over Cal Lu also gave ULV its first double-digit win total since the 1987 season. The win over Whittier on Wednesday put ULV’s record at 11-5-3. The Leopards will await word on whether the team has qualified for the playoffs via the wild card.
Mike Senyo can be reach at email@example.com.