The women’s soccer team celebrated its third win of the season in a game against UC Santa Cruz Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
The unassisted goal by freshman forward Megan Hodgson put La Verne ahead of UC Santa Cruz 2-1.
The victory by the Leopards left the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz with only its second loss of the season.
After bringing in Lauryn Pehanich as the La Verne women’s new head coach this season, performance has been improving for the Leopards.
“What I’m looking out of them is to play pretty soccer as well as to have heart behind it,” Pehanich said. “Tonight that was definitely what was seen, I couldn’t be happier.”
Both teams remained scoreless until UC Santa Cruz freshman midfielder Megan Carey scored a goal in the 11th minute of play.
An assist made by freshman forward Alexa Smith helped junior midfielder and Leopard captain, Jamie Weaver in the 31st minute score a goal to put the Leopards on the board.
The game went into half time with a tied score 1-1.
Much of the start of the second half consisted of mid field play with each team keeping the ball away from the opposite team’s goal.
La Verne held a tactical advantage by keeping play toward the center of the field.
“My biggest thing that I want to see this season is really to integrate a possession style soccer game,” Pehanich said.
Possession style soccer is a tactic used to tire out the opponent’s defense and to advance by building the ball forward for a goal.
The plan of attack proved unbeatable as Hodgson scored the final game-winning goal with nine minutes left in the second half.
As the Leopards prepare to play a series of games in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, players shine light on positive criticism and where to improve themselves for conference.
“We’re off to a great start already so that’s a good thing going into next week,” senior defender Brianna Romero said. “Staying a little more composed in SCIAC cause there are a lot of teams that are like UC Santa Cruz. It’s just about fixing the small things.”
Coming in with a young and fresh new perspective, sophomore defender Lauren Toneck feels good about the team’s new head coaching style.
“Getting a new coach, I have seen a lot of improvement in our playing,” Toneck said. “We’ve gotten a lot better in the middle, and now to work on our defense and then work to go to offense.”
Last season, the Leopards finished last in the SCIAC. They hope to improve this season.
The Leopards opened SCIAC play Wednesday at Pomona-Pitzer with a 1-0 loss. Pomona-Pitzer is currently first place in the SCIAC standing and is undefeated with a record of 3-0-1.
With an overall record of 3-4, the Leopards will host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (1-4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
Alana Glenn can be reached at email@example.com.