An exciting second half led to a final score of 3-1 as the men’s soccer team fell to the visiting the Whittier Poets last Saturday at Ben Hines Field.
Physical play was extremely high during the game with the Poets receiving 20 fouls and two yellow cards, while La Verne received 15 fouls and three yellow cards.
Both defenses played well during the first half keeping the score knotted up at 0-0.
“They were getting really physical in the second half,” freshman woman’s soccer player Julia Borges said. “There were a few cheap shots that the refs missed, but overall it was a really good game.”
Whittier would strike first during the 48th minute of the second half when Adolfo Santos dribbled around goalkeeper Jonathyn Lomeli and shot into the open net.
“It was tough coming back from a 1-0 lead,” freshman defender Jared Taylor said.
The Poets scored for the second time very quickly as Santos crossed the ball into the box allowing Jonathan Palomoni to easily kick the ball in the goal, pushing the score to 2-0.
“We came into the second half very lackadaisical,” Taylor said. “We didn’t come out ready to play.”
La Verne would respond in the 60th minute when they scored their first goal after the Poets fouled a Leopard close to their goal.
Angel De Alba took the kick for La Verne and knocked it into the net.
The Poets’ offense would prove to be too much for the Leopards as they were able to score again. Santos crossed the ball and Sam Russell scored with a nice header.
The last goal scored by the Poets seemed to kill the Leopards spirits as they seemed flat for the remainder of the game.
“I think they did well and I had high hopes that they would beat Whittier,” fan Lili Gradilla said. “They now have some added pressure to finish strong if they want to do well in their conference,”
The Leopards definitely are under some pressure for the rest of the season.
They have to win four of their last five games if they want to make it to the conference playoffs.
“The coaches have been stressing focus all week, we’re going to make sure we play intense and not lose our focus,” Taylor said. “We have a really good chance of winning the last five games
The Leopards have not loss back-to-back games since Sept. 15 and will try to bounce back when they continue Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play at 11 a.m. tomorrow. As they take on first place Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the road.
Justin Davis-Battle can be reached at email@example.com.