The men’s soccer team was shut out by Claremont Mudd-Scripps 3-0 Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
It was an intense defensive game until CMS scored three goals in the second half.
“They really just beat us up and down the field,” senior right defender Jared Taylor said.
The first half of the game was full of missed opportunities.
Both teams were forced into playing constant defense as field position constantly shifted.
La Verne freshman goalkeeper Dylan Roberts made the first save of the game, blocking a shot made by Stags junior middle Jake Bishop.
Roberts also faced shots from freshman defender Elijah Lichtenberg and senior forward Ethan Hallberg, all of which were blocked or wide of the goal.
La Verne also struggled to put points on the board CMS freshman goalkeeper Alex Choi worked tirelessly, blocking multiple shots from Taylor and freshman defender Martin Torres.
In the final seconds of the first half, La Verne senior midfielder David Gonzalez had another opportunity to make a penalty kick to put the Leopards up after the first period.
The shot was blocked by Choi.
“What separates good teams and great teams is great teams take advantage of their opportunities,” assistant coach Philip Roberts said. “We definitely didn’t manage to do that today.”
In the 65th minute CMS finally ended the stalemate when sophomore forward Hogan Marhoefer scored on an assisted kick from Lichtenberg, putting Claremont up 1-0.
Opportunities continued to open up for La Verne, but multiple shots on goal continued to be deflected by Choi.
CMS sealed its victory with back-to-back goals from forwards Ryan Karle and Mehron Abdi in the 84th and 85th minute respectively, putting them up 3-0.
“There was just a lack of energy out there. We were way too static,” senior midfielder Fernando Almejo said. “I didn’t see any work ethic at all.”
Taylor hoped to see this loss yield a change in the overall attitude of the team.
“This is going to be a turning point for our season,” Taylor said. “We need to put it behind us and use it as a fire to get us going. I think it starts with getting our energy up at practice.”
Both coaches and players believed lack of commitment at practice has been a main factor in the recent losses.
“It all goes back to training. Once we get our energy up in practice it should lead to our getting energy up in the game,” Almejo said. “This is basically where we decide if we’re going to have a losing or a winning season.”
This is a transitional season for the Leopards as many of their senior players will graduate at the end of the year. The outgoing seniors hope to instill some of their passion in the younger players.
“This is our last season, so for us it’s everything or nothing,” Taylor said. “I know a lot of the freshmen have that same mentality so we’re going to make sure that turns into wins.”
The Leopards faced Occidental at home Wednesday, earning a 3-1 victory.
After surrendering the first goal of the game the Leopards scored two goals from senior defender Andrew Geenen and freshman forward Nathan Gonzalez.
It was Gonzalez’ fifth goal of the season.
In the 71st minute, La Verne sealed the victory when junior midfielder Boye Christiansen’s goal gave the Leopards a two goal lead. It was Christiansen’s first goal of the season.
With the win, La Verne has a 6-3 overall record and 4-3 record in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
This places the Leopards in fifth place in SCIAC.
La Verne will look to earn its second straight win when it travels to Whittier at 7 p.m. Saturday
Julian Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.