by Ryan Sones
The University of La Verne men’s soccer team gave up a fight last Thursday at the men’s Pacific Christian Soccer Tournament hosted by Concordia College of Irvine and Pacific Christian College, falling a few goals short of a win.
The opening game for the Leopards on Thursday against Redlands went down in the books as a 2-0 loss.
The Leopards found themselves short-handed due to a red card from the previous week, which left them one starter short from the beginning of the game. Red cards then took their toll on the Leopards again in the game against Redlands when two more were issued throughout the game which would again leave the Leopards short for the next game vs. Menlo College. Tim Kyle, goalkeeper for the game, had seven saves in the effort.
“The red cards definitely hurt us. Plus we are already short due to the injured knee of Matt Holguin” said head coach Mike Collins.
The two red cards issued on Thursday would then leave La Verne three men down vs. Menlo. Senior team captain Darin Soliday was first on the board for the Leopards on Friday when they quickly went up 1-0 on Menlo in the first 10 minutes on an assist from freshman Armando Hernandez.
Menlo would then retaliate with three goals in a row during the next 70 minutes of play until Soliday once again put the leather in the net with help from Hernandez. That was all the Leopards would rally, and Menlo took the game by a score of 3-2.
“If you put two goals in the net, you should win the game. We had our fair chance,” said Soliday.
La Verne went on to Saturday when they faced tournament host Concordia in the consolation bracket. In the 23rd minute of the game, Concordia got on the board first via a corner kick header combination.
La Verne stayed in it when Aaron Jones hooked up with Rusty Smith and beat the goalie for the goal. Concordia would then pull away comfortably from La Verne with four unanswered goals. La Verne’s response was a bit late when Soliday once again hit the back of the net with the header via free kick from Smith.
“The biggest problem we had in the tournament was that when we made a mistake the other team was able to capitalize,” said senior team captain Eric Gleason.
Although the Leopards went down in three, they were able to earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team with the efforts of sophomore fullback Rudy Gutierrez.
“I was just doing my job and playing my position, I always give 100% out on the field, and I was surprised to hear I had made the all-tournament team.” said Gutierrez.
He went on to add “We really have a great team out here, probably the best in the last few years, we just need to make sure we always give 100% when out on the field and after each and every ball. Once we give the 100% after each and every ball, then we will start getting on the right track and begin to win our games. It is not the talent we are lacking,” said Collins.
“We are definitely playing much more consistently than the first matches in the beginning of the season. The team overall is playing a lot better together, we are just not that consistent in the box yet.” said Collins.
The next game for the men is Oct. 1 vs. Pacific Christian at Fullerton.