Strikers unite with balanced attack
September 19, 1997
photo by Summer Herndon
Freshman middle fielder Katie Zwissler takes control of the ball during
the first half of the game against the Claremont Athenas. Katie follows
in the footsteps of her two older sisters, Jenny and Jacqui, who also played
for the women's soccer team last year.
The young University of La Verne women's soccer team took to the field
last Saturday to defend their impeccable 2-0 record against Southwestern,
a competitor who hails from Houston, Texas. The story of this game was not
about the score, but rather of how the team has come together.
"We are still in the process of learning each other, but we are
inching into cohesion," said head coach Wendy Zwissler.
The Leopards, who use a "midfield game" strategy, sport 12
new freshmen in their balanced attack. The youth of the team answered the
question as to why the final score of the Southwestern game read 1-0 in
favor of ULV.
"We are very persistent. We don't quit [playing] and they are very
coachable young ladies," said coach Zwissler.
The only goal scored in the game came off of freshman Katie Zwissler's
foot with 23 minutes left in the second half. In the first half, both teams
demonstrated good motion on the field and an ability to drive on their opponent's
goal, but neither team found the backside of the goal.
The La Verne score came when sophomore Kathy Bohlman kicked a drop pass
to Zwissler, who booted a booming square shot 25 yards into the goal for
the eventual 1-0 win.
Katie Zwissler expressed her thoughts regarding the lack of scoring
from her teammates, when she said, "We didn't play very strong, because
we are new to each other."
Southwestern did give La Verne a scare, in the last 13 seconds of the
game, when they attempted a penalty kick, but came up short. The win extended
the Leopards' win streak to three games, and a perfect 3-0 record.
Following up the strong win against Southwestern, La Verne hosted a
balanced Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team on Wednesday for only the second home
game of the season.
Claremont started the game strong on offense, often challenging ULV's
freshman goalkeeper Amy Perkins, and scored early with 2:15 on the clock
to go ahead 1-0. Although the goal gave the Athenas the lead, the momentum
fell back to La Verne as the half progressed.
The Leopards gathered together and with the strong offensive play of
freshman mid-fielder Rachel Lieberman and freshman defender Kelly Black,
La Verne fired an impressive nine shots on Athena goalkeeper Amanda Swain
compared to Claremont's three attempts.
As the first half began winding down, the Leopards got even more fired
up and scored two goals in the last eight minutes of the half. The first
score came from Lieberman at 22:42 from just inside the goal box, tying
the score at 1-1. The second goal came only one minute later at 23:40 from
Mejico, putting La Verne on top 2-1 going into the second half.
In the second half the Leopards got the job done on defense as Perkins
and her defenders combined to stop eight shots to shut down the tired Claremont
offense. La Verne kept things under control as the half progressed and took
over the game with sound ball control and a talented front line.
La Verne's offense was not yet finished as time ticked away on the
game clock and, with Zwissler's help, Lieberman took a pass near the goal
box and scored her second goal of the game at 42:31 to boost the Leopard
lead to 3-1.
Things continued to go terribly wrong for the Athenas as the game came
to a final close, especially on a play late in the half when a Claremont
defender panicked in Claremont's zone and deflected the ball into the CMS
goal. The goal put ULV on top 4-1 and insured another win for the Leopards,
boosting their undefeated record to 4-0 on the season.
Coach Zwissler, who lead the La Verne women's soccer team to a 10-2
record and a second place finish in the Southern California Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference (SCIAC) last year, lost her two older daughters, Jenny
and Jacqui, along with Tori Bare, from last year's team to graduation.
The Zwissler twins and Bare brought a strong mid-field game, talent,
and leadership to the team, while earning First Team All-SCIAC awards.
"We [the team] had to rebuild our midfield, and we [the team] lost
a lot of scoring," said coach Zwissler regarding the loss of her twin
daughters and Bare.
Fortunately, this year's young team is "showing great promise"
by "asking questions and taking advice," according to coach Zwissler.
Katie Zwissler, coach Zwissler's younger daughter , is taking up a lot of
responsibility as a team captain in place of her twin sisters and Bare.
Young Zwissler, co holds the position of team captain with teammates
senior Amber Hall (First Team All-SCIAC award winner last year), junior
Angela Mejico (First Team All-SCIAC award winner last year), and senior
Coach Zwissler expects for her returning players to bring "leadership
on and off the field" to the team this year.
"I have been coaching my daughter [Katie] since she was five years
old. I don't think I have a major influence on her," insisted coach
No matter how much influence coach Zwissler has over her daughter, the
team must be able to come together in order to beat rival Cal Lutheran and
those teams who stand in their way.
Cal Lutheran has proven a formidable opponent, because they were the
ones who beat La Verne last year to win the SCIAC championship.
"If we can get it together, we can beat them [Cal Lutheran],"
said coach Zwissler. "Anyone can beat anyone in this league."
The Leopards play Redlands tomorrow at home, starting at 11 a.m and
will play Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks on Sept. 24.