Leopards fall to Athenas in close game

Sophomore defensive midfielder Shelbie Mueller kicks the ball to teammates after blocking the goal Saturday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Leopards lost to the Athenas, 1-0. / photo by Jashelle Ranson
Sophomore defensive midfielder Shelbie Mueller kicks the ball to teammates after blocking the goal Saturday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Leopards lost to the Athenas, 1-0. / photo by Jashelle Ranson

Kristen Schoenick
Staff Writer 

The Leopards’ women’s soccer team hosted the Claremont Mudd-Scripps Athenas for their second conference game Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium and suffered their second loss of the season, 1-0.

Head coach Lauryn Pehanich said that despite a hard 1-0 loss against Whittier Sept. 14, the team had expectations of remaining focused on who they are and what they are capable of.

“We expect to win,” Pehanich said. “We have the individual talent, the team motivation, and the senior leadership to take us into the top four teams of the conference, and that is what we have set out to do.” 

The Leopards and the Athenas were both looking to secure their first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference victory of the 2022 season. 

Sophomore goalie McKenzie Maggiore kicks the ball to teammates after blocking the goal Saturday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The Leopards lost to the Athenas, 1-0. / photo by Jashelle Ranson

It was tough play on the field as both the Leopards and the Athenas dominated their attacking and defensive halves. There was no scoring throughout the first 38 minutes of the game, making it an aggressive matchup.

In the 18th minute, the Athenas almost scored off of a header from a corner kick, yet the ball was quickly cleared out by the Leopards’ defense. 

The Athenas continued to apply pressure on the Leopards’ defense and were able to put one away with 5:58 left in the first half. 

It was freshman forward Cate Lewison who followed after an initial shot taken by one of her teammates which gave the Athenas an upper hand for the end of the half. 

The Leopards came out strong in the start of the second half as they were full of determination that shut down the Athenas’  many attempts on goal.

This game was full of passion and aggression for the last 30 minutes as midfielders for the Leopards were set on moving the ball to the Athenas’ territory.

Despite the pressure the Leopards put on the Athenasdefense, they were not successful in putting the ball in the back of the net. The Athenas took control of the plays, dominating the field and consistently making plays. 

Sophomore midfielder Amanda Perez said that the Leopards were still sticking to their plan for the game despite their lack of control on the field. 

“We came out but did not play like us,” Perez said. 

With 10 seconds left of the game, the Leopards made one last attempt at tying up the score, but it was saved by the Athenas’ goalkeeper, freshman Sadie Brown.

The Leopards had just two shots, both on target, while the Athenas had 16 shots and 10 on target. 

La Verne sophomore goalkeeper McKenzie Maggiore had eight incredible saves on the night. 

Maggiore said this game was not a true showcase of the Leopards’ talent. The team dynamic is moving forward after the loss against the Athenas.

“As a team we aren’t defining ourselves from that game,” Maggiore said. “We’re moving on with the mentality of ‘next play’ and ‘I’ll do it’. Our whole team was very strong defensively but we didn’t showcase our offense. Next game we’re looking to highlight our attackers and score goals.” 

The Leopards traveled to Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday and were beaten by the Sagehens, 3-0.

La Verne is now 3-4 overall and 0-3 in SCIAC.

They will travel to Chapman at 11 a.m. Saturday to continue SCIAC play. 

Kristen Schoenick can be reached at kristen.schoenick@laverne.edu.

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