The Leopards women’s soccer team fell to Pomona-Pitzer 4-0 in their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener.
It was clear the Sagehens were hungry for a win starting with an all-out attack that forced turnover after turnover for the Leopards.
“We were trying to start the season off with aggression and high intensity,” senior goalkeeper Hanien Samara said. “We are a very young team this year so just building off our newer players and showing them the intensity at the college level.”
Although the Leopards had a rough start offensively, they were able to come up with some important stops on the defensive side.
Samara lead the defense coming up with big saves to put an end to yet another Pomona-Pitzer attack.
She finished the game with 11 saves.
The Sagehens found the back of the net halfway through the first half off of a defensive stop which put their senior attacker Lily Gane in a scoring opportunity to put them up 1-0.
La Verne answered back with a potent attack that would to a shot on goal, but senior goalkeeper Isa Berardo made the save.
Pomona-Pitzer’s second goal came after confusion from the La Verne defense. The ball was meant to be cleared out of the box by a Leopard defender, but was deflected back into the goal, making it 2-0 off a La Verne own goal.
Before the end of the first half, Sagehens’ fifth year senior midfielder Hannah Mandell found the back of the net off a deflection to extend the Sagehens’ lead to 3-0.
Coming out of the first half the Leopards needed to regain their focus to come out and take back the momentum of the game.
“I think we were definitely lost because they weren’t doing what we had practiced,” senior defender and midfielder Alina Cobian said. “We changed it up and talked as a team. We needed to come out harder even though the score was against us and just keep working hard to build off of what we had done in the first half.”
The Leopards defense came out even stronger than the first half, matching the intensity of the Sagehens offense.
La Verne found a glimpse of hope after receiving a free kick, but they weren’t able to score.
Pomona-Pitzer’ sophomore forward Anna Ponzio would find the back of the net for one last time to make the final score 4-0.
“We can only go up from here, we are going to learn from it and take what we saw from Pitzer to consider how we can get better so we can be ready for CMS,” junior defender Vivian Ramirez said.
With the loss, the Leopards are now 0-1 in SCIAC and 1-4 overall.
Next La Verne will take on the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas at home Saturday at 7 p.m.
Rex Sample can be reached at email@example.com.