Giovanna Z. Rinaldo
Despite a stronger second half and the ability to create chances, the Leopards were held scoreless in a 2-0 defeat against the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas Wednesday night at Ortmayer Stadium.
While the visiting team overshot La Verne 11-2 during the first half, the Leopards stepped up their game to shoot five times against CMS’ eight on the second half.
However, they were unable to convert chances into goals and find the back of the net, a recurring issue during the season. This is the seventh Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game in which La Verne has failed to score.
After initial minutes of the teams assessing each other, the Athenas had the advantage in playmaking and creating chances. On the 23th minute, senior midfielder and forward Laynee Laube scored unassisted to put the visitors ahead, 1-0.
La Verne almost reacted nine minutes later with a speedy play on their right-hand side, but as it went in past the goalkeeper, the referee determined it was offside.
CMS was the one to dictate much of the first half’s rhythm, with the Leopards trying to follow and find some space. Although they remained alive through sporadic showings, the team’s perseverance made them believe in a comeback.
“I think the biggest challenge was just all the fouls that we kept making today,” sophomore defender Hannah Leone said. “It was just unreasonable. Definitely could’ve been better with that.”
On the second half, the Leopards came back with more organization on the field.
In the initial minutes the difficulty to connect defense and attack remained, occasionally being overcome by long balls and individual plays. However, La Verne managed to bring more pressure and find spaces while the Athenas’ dominance decreased.
“I think that we played better the second half, we brought more hunger into the game,” freshman midfielder Catherina Posada said. “We need to be more urgent and we need to put our shots away, but overall I think we did try to put the heart into the game.”
With the Leopards slowly settling in and CMS unable to maintain the same intensity as they did in the first half, the home team gained some momentum and had positive glimpses.
However, only eight minutes away from the end of the game, Athenas senior forward Katelyn Faust cleared the ball from all of La Verne’s defenders to score unassisted and give the scoreboard’s final numbers, 2-0, and solidify her team’s victory.
“I thought we definitely picked up on the second half, we just kept fighting for the ball, we kept the ball most of the time,” Leone said. “I think we dominated the second half, it’s just a matter of finishing shots.”
Senior forward Alexa Smith said that not finishing chances is a recurring issue for the team, and that while they are able to create danger, the inability to translate it into goals holds them back.
“The hunger and passion are always there, but we just need to finish our chances,” Smith said.
La Verne is now 3-12-0 overall and 2-9-0 in SCIAC.
Their next game is on the road against Cal Lutheran at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Giovanna Z. Rinaldo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.