Sarah Van Buskirk
Assistant Sports Editor
The women’s soccer team returned home to face the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas for the second time this season, and were defeated, 2-1, in overtime Saturday.
The Leopards last played CMS Sept. 18, ending that game with a 2-0 win, being one of the two wins they have this season.
“We have been through a lot this season with losing and we have had to have a strong mentality,” sophomore midfielder Reagan Appleby said. “Losing the game at the end was really hard on our girls.”
Throughout the game, good opportunities arose for ULV and CMS but they just could not be put away. Nine shots were fired at the goal for the Leopards and 16 for the Athenas, making it an offensively exciting game.
“This whole season we have been struggling with our attack and I would say that this game we really moved forward with it,” freshman goalkeeper McKenzie Maggiore said.
The Leopards’ defense was strong at clearing any ball that came into their territory. On the other hand, they struggled to connect and complete passes in offense which was caused by heavy pressure from the Athenas.
The first half consisted of equal possession from both teams on all areas of the pitch, however execution was absent for each offensive side.
“We knew what we had to do, it was just a matter of executing it,” sophomore midfielder Brianna Wong said.
The first goal for either team finally came in the 76th minute when CMS junior defender Sam Ree found a lost ball in the penalty box and volleyed it up and over the fingertips of Maggiore to make the score 1-0.
With less than 20 minutes remaining in the game the Leopards had little time to recover. In the 84th minute, a set piece for La Verne on the far side was crossed into the box, bouncing multiple times before freshman defender Shelbie Mueller found the back of the net, tying up the game and keeping the Leopards alive.
Both teams fought hard in the remaining six minutes of the game but no other points were scored, sending them into overtime.
Three minutes into overtime, the Athenas advanced up the pitch and CMS freshman midfielder Kaitlyn Helfrich took a shot from outside the box that floated over Maggiore to end the game, 2-1.
“(Losing) makes us stronger as a team,” Appleby said. “It helps us prepare for the last couple of games and for next season.”
After a bye week the Leopards traveled to Chapman on Saturday to face the Panthers and were shutout 3-0. The Leopards returned home Wednesday and beat Whittier, 1-0.
La Verne is currently 3-12 overall and 3-8 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The Leopards will close out the season on the road at Pomona-Pitzer at noon Saturday.
Sarah Van Buskirk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.