The men’s soccer team defeated Cal Lutheran, 2-1, in its first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game of the season Wednesday at Ortmayer Stadium.
The Leopards are 1-0 in SCIAC play and 4-0 overall.
“Well obviously it feels good, you know we want to win,” head coach Trevor Persson said.
“We prepared for three and a half weeks for this game, and we had some preseason games that we thought prepared us, and we came out and executed,” he said.
The Leopards’ first goal came off a free kick after junior forward Nathan Gonzalez was taken down outside the box in the 22nd minute.
Gonzalez took the opportunity, bent the shot around the Cal Lutheran wall and put the ball in the top corner, putting the Leopards up, 1-0.
“It felt very good to score,” Gonzalez said. “Especially now so that I have motivation for the next game and I feel like were gonna have a lot more momentum.”
The Leopards’ next goal came in the second half after Gonzalez fed the ball in to junior forward Saul Uribe who then headed it in to the goal.
“As soon as Nate had the ball I knew he was looking for a cross,” Uribe said.
“We made eye contact and it was like, ‘Yeah, you got me,’ and he just crossed it, and I put it in.”
The single Cal Lutheran goal came on an error in the back field after a Leopards defender made a sloppy pass, allowing Cal Lutheran senior forward Zack Larson to score on an empty net.
“Except for that error, we really didn’t give up any other opportunities,” Persson said.
“I thought we buried the chances that we had and overall it was a great team effort and a great team victory.”
The Leopards also defeated St. Katherine, 10-0, Sunday at Ortmayer Stadium.
La Verne attempted 37 shots, 22 of which were on goal and a total of eight different players managed to score. Sophomore forward Andrew Maldonado scored the first goal eight minutes into the game.
“Two guys came in front of me, and I just like thought just shoot it, see what happens and I ended up getting lucky,” Maldonado said.
Freshman midfielder Noah Dacko followed up with another goal less than two minutes later after sophomore defender Abraham Perry chipped it in to him.
He managed to trap it with his chest and volley it into the back of the net. This marked Dacko’s first goal as a Leopard.
“I was extremely happy, I’ve been working for this moment for a long time,” Dacko said.
Junior midfielder Briley Venti scored next with a header off a corner taken by Uribe.
Uribe also scored the last goal of the half, putting the Leopards up 4-0 by halftime.
The Leopards continued their scoring streak in the second half as sophomore Auden Foxe brought in another goal in the 48th minute.
Maldonado and Dacko then scored a goal apiece putting the Leopards up, 7-0.
Senior forward Nick Gonsalves added to the lead after he faked out a defender and shot a rocket into the back of the net off his left foot.
“It felt awesome,” Gonsalves said. “Anytime you get to score a goal is a great opportunity and you know you live in the moment, and it’s very fun.”
Junior midfielders Harim Coronado and Justin Funes scored the last two goals of the game in the 76th and 89th minutes, respectively.
St. Katherine tallied one shot in the 67th minute that went straight to senior keeper Darrin Bangle.
“They kind of all came together with a nice 10-0 game,” Persson said.
“It was unexpected but I think that the group is coming together as a team which is exactly what we’ve been asking these guys to do since day one Aug. 20,” he said.
The men’s soccer team will take on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.
Kat Simonelli can be reached at email@example.com.