Giovanna Z. Rinaldo
Despite outplaying Pomona-Pitzer, the men’s soccer team was punished for its inability to finish and suffered a tough 3-0 loss against the Sagehens Wednesday night at Ortmayer Stadium.
The Leopards were superior in their playmaking and control of the game, rarely allowing the away team to build momentum.
However, the Sagehens took good advantage of the few chances they created and effectiveness was what decided the game.
“We did really well, we did out-possess them, we had more shots on goal, but in the end they had five shots, three on target, they got all three in and we just couldn’t finish today,” senior defender Martin Gonzalez said.
“Our finishing didn’t work. We did everything we could possibly (do), we had our touches in, we were connecting passes, we were crossing, in the end we just couldn’t finish.”
For most of the first half, Pomona-Pitzer could not find a hole in La Verne’s defense and only occasionally created danger.
The home team had more control of the ball and knew how to neutralize the Sagehens, although unable to completely dominate them and have the game under control.
While the Leopards were successful in playmaking, they were also unable to impose their traditionally aggressive attacking style and produce a goal.
La Verne had seven shots in the first half, two on goal, and Pomona-Pitzer had four shots – all of them on target.
“The keeper had a couple of good saves, but it was mainly that we just didn’t capitalize on our chances that we should have,” sophomore goalkeeper Josh Ramirez said.
The first goal of the match came at the 26th minute, as an own goal that put the Sagehens ahead, 1-0.
“What didn’t work I would say (was) playing as a team,” said junior midfielder Javier Jasso. “I feel like we got into our own heads so that’s how the game ended up going. We didn’t come to play first of all, I believe we could do way better. I believe we just went through the emotions today and didn’t bring our A game.”
Despite the disadvantage, the Leopards kept being the superior team in creating chances and getting to the final third of the field more frequently, but the inability to finish stopped them from a possible come back.
“I know Pomona did not keep us from the goal, we just kept ourselves. We kept over-hitting the ball, we just weren’t hitting it low and hard,” Martinez said.
Although the Sagehens had barely any offensive volume and did not hint at increasing the score on their favor, their second goal came at the 66th minute.
Freshman defender Shanti Dubey scored assisted by sophomore midfielder and forward Bjorn Sigurdsson.
The Leopards kept pushing, with hopes that sooner or later the goal would come.
Opportunities were still created, but it was not the day for the team who is usually abundant in scoring to hit the back of the net.
La Verne finished the game with 18 shots, only three on goal, while Pomona hit all of their total eight shots on target.
“I’d say they didn’t keep us away from the goal, we just didn’t finish our opportunities and they finished their opportunities,” Jasso said.
With less than five minutes left on the clock, Pomona-Pitzer gave the scoreboard’s final numbers with another goal, scored by senior forward Voja Maric, to end the game 3-0 in a day that nothing worked for La Verne.
“I feel like we could learn from this because we just gotta finish opportunities. We got too confident in out-possessing them and in the end we just didn’t finish,” Martinez said. “They had their opportunities and they just finished because they knew that they weren’t gonna get any more.”
The Leopards are now 7-3-1 overall and 5-3-1 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
“We had quite a tough loss coming back from an upset against Cal Lutheran so we were pretty fired up,” Ramirez said. “We were looking for a win, obviously we didn’t get that. We were pretty much dominating, and the only difference is that we just got to finish our chances and we didn’t.”
La Verne will now face the Occidental Tigers 7 p.m. Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium with hopes of going back to their winning ways.