After an impressive start to the season, men’s soccer came out flat against the Whittier Poets in a 4-0 loss on Wednesday at Ortmayer Stadium.
“The only thing we talked about after the game was, we asked them did they give 100% effort and the answer was no,” head coach Trevor Persson said. “And by effort, it’s not like they’re not trying, we didn’t match their energy, we didn’t stick to the tactics, we didn’t buy into what we’ve been asking them to do from the beginning of the season to tonight.”
The Poets took control of the game early on and spent most of the game on the Leopards’ side of the field. Junior goalkeeper Logan Reese made a nice diving save but, moments later, Poets junior forward Lawrence Dydell showed patience and outwaited the Leopards defense to score the game’s first goal just under four minutes into the game.
Reese stayed busy throughout the game and finished with six saves.
“I just try to focus and keep my back line in check,” Reese said. “We got some really strong guys out there with a lot of big hearts and just tried to hold our own every game.”
The Poets continued to dominate play and did not allow the Leopards to maintain possession for long. Passing was a struggle for the Leopards, which led to many turnovers and long periods of time spent on their side of the field.
The Leopards finally got a scoring chance on the rush with junior forward Adan Villarreal beating the Poets defenders but his attempt was deflected by the goalkeeper and hit the crossbar. Unfortunately for the Leopards, they were unable to build off this scoring chance and went right back to defending the Poets’ attacks.
Dydell’s second goal of the night was a nifty one where he danced through Leopards defenders and fired a shot that found the back of the net to give the Poet’s a 2-0 lead at the 33:55 mark. That score would hold to the end of the first half leaving the Leopards with some ground to make up in the second half.
“We weren’t really being supportive as far as building out in the back or anything as far as doing the game plan that we had,” sophomore forward Tyler Thomas said.
The Leopards came out of the gate with better poise in the second half and got another scoring chance early but Villarreal’s shot went just over the net. Just as it seemed that the Leopards were going to get back on track, a foul was committed and Dydell completed the hat-trick after the throw-in to make it 3-0.
Then it was more of the same; the Leopards continued their struggles with getting out of their own side of the field and the Poets kept coming. Reese made a nice play charging a ball coming towards the net with a Poet forward all alone and kicked it out of harm’s way.
But then Poets midfielder Jazey Zavala broke through the Leopards defense and found the back of the net to seal the deal at 4-0. The Leopards lost an ugly one 4-0.
“Just going to regroup this week and try to focus on ourselves and see what went wrong, what we can do better and just prepare for Caltech,” graduate student midfielder Owen Osagiede said.
The Leopards tied their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener 1-1 against Cal Lutheran on Saturday. Their next matchup will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Caltech and then at 7 p.m. Wednesday at home against Chapman.
The Leopards are 0-1-1 in conference play and 4-2-1 overall this season.
Jack Janes can be reached at email@example.com.