It seems the men’s soccer team may soon have a comeback as it tied against Chapman 1-1 on Wednesday at Ortmayer Stadium after being shut out during their last two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference games.
“A tie tonight is like a win for us,” head coach Trevor Persson said. “I thought it was a hard-fought game, we really prepped and really pushed these guys to be ready for Chapman.”
The first half of the game had both goalkeepers hard at work as the two teams came close to scoring. With 24 minutes left in the first half, La Verne junior goalkeeper Logan Reese received a yellow card and Chapman was given a penalty kick.
The shot went over and out, and the game remained scoreless.
With little under 12 minutes left, Chapman freshman midfielder Conner Kilde shot and scored with the assistance of junior forward Riley Thomas, giving Chapman a 1-0 lead. And with a little over a minute left before halftime, the Panthers nearly scored another goal.
Just a few seconds into the second half, junior forward Maximilian De Anda scored, tying the game after taking advantage of a stolen pass.
“It felt good,” De Anda said. “It’s been my second goal and I am glad my family was able to witness it.
As the game was brought to a tie, the energy in the stadium rose.
“We are always happy to score,” sophomore defensemen Kaelem Walker said. “No matter what type of goal it is, even if it’s like a tap-in or a 40-yard screamer.”
Throughout the game, the players had to remain focused after several missed calls by the referees. This however did not discourage the players both on the field and on the sidelines.
“Our energy on the bench and on the field was different, we came with a different attitude today,” sophomore center back Christopher Martin said.
Several yellow cards were also handed out to players on both teams. In an instance, Chapman forward Jonah Friag was involved in a verbal altercation and received a yellow card.
His teammate, senior forward Ryan Bridge said to him out in the field, “We do not stoop to that level,” said Bridge. “We are better than that.”
Despite more yellow cards and fouls being called, tension arose as both teams fought to claim the ball and score. Both the Leopards and the Panthers had several opportunities to score but came short and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
The Leopards’ next game is 7 p.m. on Saturday at Occidental.
“We must move forward from this tie and take what we can,” Martin said. “Occidental College is currently in the No. 1 spot so we must show people what we are made of.”
The Leopards beat the Tigers in last year’s meeting, 2-1.
Romualdo Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.