Leopards battle for first home win

Defending the ball from the Cal Lutheran Regals in Leopard territory, defender Kelly Fray battles Cal Lutheran midfielder Jennifer LaMoure for possession. La Verne went on to lose, 2-0, on Saturday when Regal sophomore defender Sarah Rickert scored two goals in the first half. / photo by Rhiannon Mim
Defending the ball from the Cal Lutheran Regals in Leopard territory, defender Kelly Fray battles Cal Lutheran midfielder Jennifer LaMoure for possession. La Verne went on to lose, 2-0, on Saturday when Regal sophomore defender Sarah Rickert scored two goals in the first half. / photo by Rhiannon Mim

After much struggle, the La Verne women’s soccer team finally won its first home game of the season.

It took the 12th game of the season, and fifth home game for them to do so against the Whittier Poets on Wednesday night, winning 8-3.

The Leopards were led by the midfielder trio of senior Katie Ford, junior Stephanie Needles and freshman Arianna Souri, who each scored two goals.

The Poets (0-11-0) scored their first goal of the season at 28:57 into the first half coming off the foot of senior forward Carrie Sherwood.

Sherwood finished the game with two goals, with sophomore midfielder Brittany Kunz accounting for the third goal by the Poets.

Needles and Souri opened with the first two goals of the game coming at 15:10 and 17:40 into the first half.

Sherwood then followed with her first goal at 28:57 into the half.

Ford, Souri and senior defender Mercedes Bermudez closed out the half with one goal apiece, to lead 5-3 going into the half.

The score stayed that way until Needles scored her second goal at 18:32 into the second half, followed by Ford scoring exactly six minutes later.

The game showcased how well the Leopards can work when they play well together.

The Cal Lutheran Regals took the mentality that revenge is a dish best served cold into Saturday’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference match against the Leopards.

After defeating Cal Lutheran, 1-0, Sept. 13 in Thousand Oaks, the Leopards really did not look good at all on Saturday, losing 2-0.

The Leopards had a real scare at 24:48 into the second half with senior defender Amber Lejay running into Cal Lutheran junior goalie Diana Molthen.

Lejay went down hard and had to be assisted off the field while Molthen came away seemingly unscathed.

“It was a 50-50 ball, either of the girls could’ve gotten to it,” head coach Wendy Zwissler said. “It looks like [Lejay] hyper-extended her knee and probably blew out her ACL.”

However, Lejay’s teammates seemed confident she would make it through the injury.

“I always have concern for her, but she’s strong. If anyone can handle this she can,” Ford said.

The Regals’ sophomore defender Sarah Rickert scored two goals.

The first came at 23:03 into the first half unassisted, with the second being scored at 6:42 in the second half off an assist by Mae Des Rosiers.

“It was a physical game,” Bermudez said. “[Rickert] knew how to play with the ball in the air.”

The Leopards pretty much shot themselves in the foot having taken only a handful of shot attempts.

“We have a problem of looking for the perfect shot,” Bermudez said. “We need to take more opportunities.”

The La Verne coaching staff was noticeably upset about the way the Leopards played the game.

“You have to see things coming at you,” Zwissler said. “You can’t maintain the ball with three defenders surrounding you.”

The team’s 4-7-1 record can be blamed in part on injuries suffered throughout the season, with the latest coming in these most recent games.

“We’ve just had too many injury problems,” assistant coach Jeff Joines said.

Zwissler blames this on the way SCIAC has scheduled the women’s soccer season.

“We’ve lost these girls to knee injuries because of a lack of a full preseason,” Zwissler said. “It’s impossible to get the girls’ strength up. The whole season we’ve been struggling to get our strength up.”

The Leopards will try to keep from being swept during their season matchup against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Claremont.

Kevin Zeni can be reached at kzeni@ulv.edu.

Kevin Zeni
Rhiannon Mim

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