Grady Lee Thomas
Riding a three game losing streak into their 2010 home opener against Occidental, the La Verne women’s soccer team was outdueled, 1-0, in what was a display of character and teamwork from the opening whistle.
The lone goal came in the 61st minute by Occidental freshman midfielder Jenny Clark.
The strike was knocked in with the assistance of Occidental junior defender Liz Martin.
Saturday’s loss marks the team’s fourth straight loss and second-consecutive skid in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“I think we played well as a team. We just have to make minor adjustments and get a better feel for how each other plays the game,” said Stasy Muratalla, junior midfielder.
“We played in a new formation, so with more practice and timing, we should do even better,” Muratalla said.
“We have great team chemistry for being a young team, we just have to transfer it onto the field of play,” Murtalla added.
The women’s soccer team battled back-and-forth in an unrelenting demonstration of defense and heart.
Both teams played stingy defense and made fearless plays on the ball.
Freshman defender Katie Careaga played hard and with reckless abandon for her body. Careaga made a lot of fearless sliding attacks to prevent Occidental players from gaining ground or getting too many shots on goal.
“We’re improving game to game,” head coach Wendy Zwissler said.
“Our girls showed lots of heart for being such a young team,” Zwissler said. “Once we connect more passes and get to know each other more, we will improve.”
“There are a total of 20 new girls on our team and they are fighters. They all fight for each other,” Zwissler said.
Freshman midfielder Brianna Romero controlled all the midfield action for the majority of the game. While senior midfielder, Ashley Vanga, made a total of three shots on goal – all of which showed a lot of promise.
“We never thought to quit. Our team is ready to learn more about each other and take our game to the next level,” Romero said.
“We are a disciplined group and we will get things back on track soon,” Romero said.
“We are working on becoming more familiar with each other’s style of play on the field,” Romero added..
The schedule for La Verne does not get any easier as their next two games will be on the road against tough conference opponents. The Leopards will play at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Thousand Oaks against Cal Lutheran. Then at 4 p.m on Wednesday they will head to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Grady Lee Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.