Despite an aggressive offense and multiple saves from the goalkeeper, the women’s soccer team lost its final match of the season to Pomona-Pitzer by 1-0 Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
Friends and family came out to support the team’s seniors – goalkeeper Gloria Escalante, midfielder Linda Kommel, midfielder Kristina Roche and defender Sarah Ruden – on senior night during the tightly contested matchup.
“We prepared like we have always done, we practiced and mentally prepared for the game,” assistant coach Danielle Sumlin said. “Soccer is a game where any team on any given day can be beaten.”
Junior forward Marisella Macias continued to show her assertiveness throughout the match, breaking away from defense and shooting for a goal early on that ended up in Pomona-Pitzer freshman goalie Helena Epps’ hands in the 13th minute.
“We fought for a win and even though it didn’t go our way we didn’t stop playing,” Macias said. “We started the game with little intensity but picked it up in the second half.”
“We needed to set the tone early and it took us a bit to get going, once we did we controlled the game.”
La Verne showed their relentlessness through the match, often forcing Pomona-Pitzer to clear the ball out of play.
“Gloria did a great job in the goal,” Macias said.
Though La Verne’s senior goalkeeper Escalante had several saves throughout the first half, it was at the 34th minute when Pomona-Pitzer’s senior defender Claire Mueller struck the goal.
“We got scored on because a lack of marking up, but in the second half we did a lot better,” team captain Ruden said. “Our intensity could have been better in the first half, but we picked it up again in the second half. We just, unfortunately, were unable to get the ball in the net.”
Another opportunity to even the score came during the 81st minute as freshman midfielder Lindsey Toneck was given a free kick after a foul, but missed as the ball flew over the cross bar.
It was Kommel’s yellow card call in the 85th minute that drew a response from the crowd, claiming that one of Pomona-Pitzer’s players had committed a handball.
La Verne took 11 shots on goal while Pomona-Pitzer took 12.
Pomona’s one goal in the first half was enough to hold up as the only offense in the game.
“I was sad because it was my last game, but I have so many memories with my team at La Verne,” Ruden said. “And even though we didn’t have a winning season, I am still very proud of my team.”
“We have some very talented girls and I’m excited to see how they do next year,” she said.
Head coach Antoinette Love told the team earlier in the week that she would not be returning next season.
“I hope they can take all the knowledge and wisdom Coach Love has instilled on them, build off of it and be ultimate contenders in our conference,” Sumlin said. “These girls have the ability to be the best and I feel they are close to achieving that.”
“We will miss her out there,” Macias said.
The team ends the season with an overall record of 4-11-2.
Robert Penalber can be reached at email@example.com.