The women’s soccer team suffered a tough 2-0 home defeat to Cal Lutheran on Saturday with goals from Regal freshman forward Danielle Vis and sophomore forward Alexandra Fagerberg.
Ortmayer Stadium had been bombarded the night before with heavy rainfall so the speed of the game was noticeably faster due to the ball slipping and sliding across the turf.
“The ball was just skipping around, everyone’s touches were off,” senior forward Andrea Story said. “If our passes were too hard then they were going to go right out of bounds.”
The Leopards were immediately under pressure once the game kicked off. The Leopards defense held up well against the first waves of attacks from the Regals. However, the Regals’ organization and quick passing allowed for them to not only establish their game but also put away the first goal.
In the 19th minute, junior midfielder Emily Williams pounced on a loose ball at midfield and produced a stunning pass that split both of the ULV center backs.
Vis, who took the pass, beat the Leopards’ offside trap and dribbled past the backline to nestle the ball safely into the bottom corner of the net, giving the Regals a 1-0 lead.
Senior goalkeeper Jasmine Valadez was on alert after conceding the first goal but recovered when she cleaned up another sharp through ball from Williams that set up a one-on-one situation for Vis and Valadez after 20 minutes.
The goal woke up the Leopards and they began to grow into the game. It took time for the Leopards to establish any kind of rhythm due to the organization and tactics from the Regals.
By the 30 minute mark, both teams had settled into their playing styles. The Leopards were sitting deep, absorbing the Regal pressure effectively.
The Leopards were able to play out passes from the defense to the midfield but struggled to create any attack in the first half.
The wet surface saw more passes go out for throw-ins than reach intended targets for both the Leopards and Regals.
The first half ended as more of a boxing match because both teams were dealing with each other effectively.
Cal Lutheran found it hard to find a killer ball while La Verne struggled to start its offense.
“A lot of teams play high balls in our conference because we’re sort of a shorter team,” senior forward Amaris Sherlock said. “But we just try to focus on playing our game.”
The second half picked up where the first half left as Cal Lutheran kicked off.
In the 45th minute, the Regals immediately looked to play in junior midfielder Jordan Miller with a high lobbed through ball to get their second goal, but sophomore defender Katherine Obregon slid over to block Miller’s shot.
The Leopards managed just three shots throughout the game.
The first came in the 52nd minute by Sherlock who caught the Regals’ sophomore goalkeeper Gabby Flores off her line, but her shot went high.
‘‘I think that the team had opportunities to be better but I do not think we capitalized on our opportunities,” head coach Lauryn Pehanich said.
The Leopards continued to sit deep and make clearances while the Regals struggled to create an opportunity for them to grab the go-ahead goal. Vis’s pace and dribbling caused the Leopards defense headaches during the entire game. Vis was the player for the Regales making magic happen for her team.
The momentum was just what the Regals needed as they grabbed their second goal in the 78th minute.
Vis stretched the Regals out wide again and crossed a ball from the right that went off the top crossbar but fell perfectly to the feet of Fagerberg, who reacted quickly to poke the ball past the Valadez give Cal Lutheran the 2-0 victory.
“We need to work on just connecting it from our defense to our midfield to our forwards, that way we can all transition up towards the goal,” Juna Bouchekara senior midfielder said.
La Verne also lost to Whittier, 1-0, Wednesday.
The defeats leave the Leopards with a 2-9-1 record in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and 2-10-2 overall. They will travel to play first place Redlands at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Andrew Alonzo can be reached at email@example.com.