Wesley Lucas, a sophomore, is a defender for the men’s soccer team. He, along with four other teammates, has earned all-conference honors this season. Lucas was named to the second team All–SCIAC both this year and last year. ULV finished their season with a 10-6-3 overall record.
After a successful 2008 campaign by the men’s soccer program, the team was rewarded with five members being named to the All-Conference team.
Awarded to the first team were forward Hector Lepe and defender Angel De Alba. Named to the second team were forward Wesley Lucas, midfielder Gilad Hoffman and forward Nahavi Mendoza.
“We lost quite a few starters from a year ago, and we were wondering who was going to step up. We knew Hector, Wesley and Angel would step up and be leaders. At the time, we didn’t know if Gilad would be starting his master’s program and using his final year of eligibility. The one surprise was Nahavi, from the day he showed up, he played well,” head coach Crescencio Gonzalez said.
“It feels good; I’m happy. I feel like I have accomplished something making first team as a sophomore. The experience I had from a year ago really helped, knowing the competition. Making the first team was one of my goals,” Lepe said.
“It’s an honor to receive this award in a conference as competitive as ours,” De Alba said.
For Lucas, this is his second year in a row as a member of the second team.
“It feels great. It’s my second time on the second team. Getting this award again inspires me to be more of a leader on the team,” Lucas said.
Hoffman is also a returning member to the All-Conference team, having been selected to the first team in 2006.
The All-Conference teams are voted on by the coaches in the conference.
“It just feels awesome that I’m looked at by the other coaches as one of the top players in league, and I will try to encourage the rest of my team who hasn’t made all conference to get all conference honors as well next season,” Lucas said.
A reoccurring theme among the team members was that the award was a group effort.
“There was something about our team that I’ve never seen before. We are a very close group; there are no cliques. We’re a big family, and, because of that, we all play better,” De Alba said.
“We all played together a lot. It was more of a team. I had the same role, but the team looked to give me the ball more,” Lepe added.
Lucas even went as far as to thank others. “I have to thank Angel for this award. Without his help on the defense, I wouldn’t be anywhere,” he said.
Luckily for the Leopards, four out of five of these players are only sophomores and will have two more seasons to make the program successful.
Hoffman is the odd man out and has ended his illustrious La Verne career after three years on the team.
“We definitely want to have a good recruitment year to compliment those guys. If they come back, work hard and we come together, our possibilities are endless. We have a definite possibility of winning conference next year. It will be our hard work that will get us there,” Gonzalez said.
Christopher Weedon can be reached at email@example.com.