With balloons and posters in the stands, Leopard fans brought their clappers and noise makers to cheer on the men’s soccer team to a 1-0 overtime win against Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday at Damien High School.
The surprising fireworks during the national anthem set the mood for the Leopards and their fans.
“This is all really impressive,” sophomore biology major Peter Marquez said. “They really went all out.”
About 40 fans sat in the stands as the game started.
With the absence of co-captain Andrew Geenen, senior co-captain Wesley Lucas was looked upon to anchor the defense and lead the Leopards to victory.
“It’s been tough without Andrew out there, but we’re finally flowing,” Lucas said.
“It definitely took a while to adjust, but after a few games and practices were starting to play better.”
Early in the game Pomona-Pitzer showed off their athleticism and speed, but the Leopards showed poise and stayed organized, never getting frazzled by the Sagehens’ speed.
The first half was played at a slow pace and neither team seemed like they were ready to take control of the game.
“The first half was very shaky and we weren’t touching the ball a lot,” Lucas said.
La Verne was able to find good play out of midfielder Joshua Hill.
The sophomore was able to push the ball down the sideline and cross the ball numerous times.
Hill was able to provide much needed offense to a team that didn’t have many first half offensive playmakers.
Lucas was able to anchor the defense well and the Leopards went into halftime in a scoreless tie with Pomona-Pitzer.
In the second half both teams picked up the pace around the 57th minute of play.
Pomona-Pitzer tried to keep up the pace with the Leopards, but La Verne seemed to be pulling away from the visitors with their intensity.
The Leopards were pushing the ball and took an array of shots around the 60th minute, but all of the great scoring opportunities were missed.
Late into regulation La Verne midfielder Fernando Almejo began to push the ball and Pomona-Pitzer began to lose composure and commit frustration fouls.
“It was a sloppy game, but we hit up and did just enough,” Almejo said.
At the end of regulation the game was tied at 0-0.
The two teams were headed into sudden death golden goal overtime.
In the 93rd minute of play freshman midfielder Boye Christiansen was able to connect outside of the 18 and hit one in the top right corner to make the golden goal and give the Leopards the win.
“It was a great feeling, that turned the season around right there,” Christiansen said.
“We played as a team to get the win,” coach Cres Gonzalez said.
Junior goalkeeper Richard Duran went the distance for La Verne recording six saves while Christiansen led the offense with three shots.
The Leopards take on Occidental at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Damien High School.
Christian Orozco can be reached at email@example.com.