The waiting game

Championship run: The Regals bench sits during a 1-0 victory against Chapman.
Photos by Alli Westerhoff – Staff Photographer

An energized CLU crowd was in full force Saturday night at William Rolland Stadium as students and parents came out to support California Lutheran University women’s soccer on senior night. A joint effort on offense and defense led to a late goal by the Regals, beating the Athenas 1-0.

The 16-3 Regals soccer squad (12-1 in SCIAC) took a good amount of time to expose the scrappy 11-6 Claremont Athenas (9-4 in SCIAC) defense. Many opportunities were presented to the Regals in the first half, but unforced errors kept them tied early in the match.

While the Regals dominated the shots on target mark by a 19-6 margin, it was eminent that CLU was bound to score. Luckily for the Regals, a late second half goal by senior Mayra Virgen saved the squad and put them atop 1-0.

The first half was purely a defensive game. Both squads deflected attempted assists and corner kicks. However, the Regals’ defense held strong throughout the match.
Senior Kristen DiPippo and junior Anna Medler held down their side of the field, keeping Claremont to a minimal three shots on goal during the first half. They held strong during the second half, only allowing three more Athena shots on goal.

Freshman Mallory Carcich accompanied DiPippo and Medler by sharing a keen sense of awareness on defense. A deflected header by Carcish during an Athena corner kick saved the game for the Regals and kept Claremont out of striking distance.

DiPippo showed confidence in young players like Carcich, describing how valuable an asset the underclassmen are to the Regals’ overall scheme.

“We lost a couple key players last year in big positions,” said DiPippo. “So it was a little bit harder at first to find that chemistry and rhythm, but the freshman have stepped up tremendously and I think juniors and seniors have set the tone. They have been really good role models for what we want the program to continue to be. So it’s been a really good balance. It took a minute, but now that we have that rhythm, once we continue that we will be unstoppable,” she said.

Head coach Frank Marino expressed the same feelings for his defense, praising the quartet of defenders he trusts with protecting the CLU goalie box.

“They have been fantastic,” said Marino. “They have all those shutouts this year and to give up only four goals in our conference is pretty amazing. They have just played together and have done a really good job being organized defensively.”

Marino was one of the more emotional people present during the game. While struggling to express his gratitude to the seniors through his tears, he touched on the success the current seniors have brought him in the past four years, as well as the program.

“I think it is emotional from the beginning of the day to the end,” said Marino. “I was on edge most of the day because you want to get a win for the seniors on senior day.”

After the Regals struggled through the first half, there was no turning back. Virgen’s immediate strike in the second half of the game kept the ball in Athena territory for the majority of the game.

Valuable minutes by seniors Nicole Rains and Kristin Cameron attributed to the Regal’s success.

The Regals will be entering the playoffs with high hopes this year. With a solid mixture of youth and knowledge through experience, No. 22 ranked Regals look to perform up to expectations of greatness during this year’s playoff campaign.

 

Nicho DellaValle
Staff Writer
Published Oct. 31. 2012