The men’s soccer team came out with a solid victory against Pomona-Pitzer in the first away game of the 2013 season.
The Leopards defeated the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens, 2-0, in an intense Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match.
“I’m really happy and excited about this win because it helps us,” head coach Crescencio Gonzalez said. “This win guides us in the right steps, but this win is something that we don’t take for granted.”
Although the first half of the soccer game remained scoreless, things intensified in the second half. In the 34th minute, junior midfielder Boye Christiansen scored the first goal going past two Pomona-Pitzer defenders on his way in. The goal was Christiansen’s first of the season. Christianesen led the Leopards with four goals last season.
The crowd was on their feet as senior midfielder Joshua Hill shot another clean goal past senior forward Ian Maier of Pomona-Pitzer
“Joshua’s shot was probably one of the most beautiful goals I’ve seen.” Gonzalez said.
Similar to Christiansen, it was Hill’s first goal of the season.
“When I made that goal, it pumped me up,” Hill said. “The momentum of the game then switched back to our advantage.”
The Leopards offense has exploded this season, tallying eight goals in just three regular season games thus far.
During the 35th of the first half, freshman forward Saul Uribe attempted to make a goal but was blocked by junior goalkeeper Nigel Brady of Pomona-Pitzer.
Uribe also went past three defenders to get across the field but the goalie again prevented his shot.
The goalies were key players in the game by preventing each shot that was coming their way. Both goalies of each team communicated constantly throughout the game to one another on the team.
In the 16th minute of the first half, Hill, flew in the air to get the soccer ball and ended up hitting Pomona-Pitzer sophomore defender Andrew Capron in the head. Capron was on the ground for several minutes before going back in action.
The fouls throughout the game kept coming, back and forth, shirts being pulled and men falling on the ground.
“I feel a lot of the fouls should’ve went our way but you know, it’s just a part of the game.” Darrin Bangle, goal-keeper said.
The Leopards had to play through physicality to earn the victory.
“There are no perfect referees and they did the best that they could with the game but it’s about the players attitudes on the field,” Gonzalez said.
Things began to stir during the 16th minute when Pomona-Pitzer’s junior forward Nathan Shekita kicked the ball before the whistle, hitting the Leopard’s freshman forward Mario Interiano causing him to have a bloody nose.
Shekita had a chance to score in the 3rd minute but, he had hand contact with the ball so the goal did not count.
The clock winded down and the crowd was on their feet as La Verne came out with the victory. The hard-nosed nature of the game made the Leopard victory more satisfying.
“During the game, there were times where I felt we weren’t doing as well but at the end, we pulled it out,” Hill said. “We just now have to focus on possessing the ball and attacking.”
For the next game, Gonzalez said that they will try to improve on passing the ball and trying to connect with each other more often. Overall, he was happy with the his team’s win.
“As a team, we needed this win,” Bangle said. “We stayed focused and with this win we are still undefeated, but we can’t let it go to our heads.”
With the win La Verne’s record improves to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in SCIAC play.
The Leopards will look to stay undefeated as their next game is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Redlands.
Jolene Nacapuy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.