Varsity soccer defeats Milken 5-0, wins Liberty League title


Photo credit: Marlee Rice

Junior Ariana Gola (left) battles for the ball against a Grace Brethren player at Santa Monica College on Dec. 21. “Each person on the field took initiative and took more shots, which evidently gave us more opportunities to score,” senior co-captain Jenna Marks said.

The varsity soccer team clinched the Liberty League championship 4-0 from the Milken Wildcats at the Sepulveda Sports Basin on Jan. 29, securing its fourth consecutive Liberty League title.

The Panthers had previously tied with Milken Community Schools 2-2 on Jan. 10, making this win “especially great,” junior captain Riley Adams said.

“This game against Milken went super well because everyone was working together, united and in communication,” Adams said. “Everyone was putting in 100 percent of their effort 100 percent of the time, which really contributed to [us] having an overall strong, quick-paced game.”

Five goals were scored by the Archer players, including freshman Alessandra Aragon and juniors Ariana Golpa, Stella Kraus and Sophie Larbalestier. Larbalestier was named the “player of the game” and scored two of the five goals.

“Against Milken, I scored two goals, one off a corner and one off a beautiful assist from Ali Aragon,” Larbalestier said. “Scoring against any team is the best feeling because it means we are one step closer to our season goals. No goal would ever be possible without the hard work we put in each and every game.”

The Division 6 team went undefeated in league this year by ending with a 7-0-1 record. They also had out-of-league wins, beating Division 4 Brentwood School 2-1 on Dec. 6 and Division 5 Grace Brethren 2-1 on Dec. 21.

“I think it was a lot of effort from the girls working together, especially the upperclassman teaching the freshmen how to bond with the team on the field and off the field,” team manager Gabriela Ayala ’21 said. “That gelling of the team led to their victory.”

The Archer varsity soccer beat out Oakwood School, de Toledo and Pacifica Christian/Santa Monica along with Milken to win the Liberty League championship. Photo courtesy of Denny Lennon.

The Panthers are now on the road to a potential CIF-SS Division 6 win by qualifying for the first round of the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs. Co-captain senior Jenna Marks credits this league title to the “unification” of the varsity team and hopes her last season will not be “cut short.”

“Our first goal is always to win league, and for the past four years I’ve been on this team we’ve accomplished that goal, and that’s something that I’m very proud of,” Marks said. “One of the main reasons we won [league] is because we are a team that genuinely loves each other. I’ve seen us having a lot of fun playing soccer and that is something rare — to see a team actually enjoying the game.”

The team will play the first round of the CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs against Pacifica Christian Orange County High School on Feb. 6 at Santa Monica College at 6 p.m.