Assistant Sports Editor
The dismal 2016 season wrapped up with some more disappointment for the women’s soccer team after a 4-1 defeat to No. 21 Pomona-Pitzer on senior night Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
The Leopards finished last in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a 3-15 overall record and 2-12 in conference.
Despite the results, head coach Lauryn Pehanich said she looks forward to next season.
“I’m really excited with the group of women that we have going forward,” Pehanich said. “I think that at any point and time they could’ve stopped playing or gave up. They could’ve shown a negative character.”
Freshman midfielder Casey Moore provided La Verne with a glimmer of hope with her 54-minute equalizer to tie the game at one a piece. She broke the Sagehens’ 948-minute shutout streak.
Senior midfielder Katie Tao got the scoring started for the visitors early as she caught the Leopards off-guard and pounced with a low free kick from 20 yards out in the fourth minute of play.
Much like they have all season, La Verne’s defensive unit and goalkeeping vastly improved as the game wore on.
A sloppy pass in the back that is uncharacteristic for the team ended up being its undoing, as it led to an easy goal for senior forward Alyssa Kim in the 58th minute.
La Verne pushed numbers forward but struggled like they have all season to score an equalizing goal.
With the Leopards pushing numbers forward to quickly get a tying goal, senior forward Danika Bethune notched the insurance marker a few minutes later.
Junior midfielder Sofia Barsher scored the dagger in the 87th minute, sealing the win.
Before the game, La Verne honored the careers of their five seniors – goalkeeper Heather Seman, defender Kyndall Taylor, forward Traci Ramirez, midfielder Megan Hodgson and forward Alexa Smith.
It was an emotional night for them as they reminisced and looked forward to the program’s future.
“The little things in the locker room and hanging out with my teammates and the everyday stuff is what I’ll miss the most,” Seman said.
The SCIAC conference should expect a new and vastly improved team for next year.
“I think they can expect a lot a young raw talent that’s going to be able to really make an impact on the team because a lot of our young players were able to get a lot of playing time this year,” said Taylor.
“They have the experience to make a difference.”
Freshman defender Alina Cobian plans to take on a more leadership role next year and junior forward Jessica Hernandez plans to work all offseason to improve her shooting for next season.
Attitudes like these are what makes Taylor feel optimistic in the direction the program is heading.
Jose Brambila can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @jozy_brambila7.