Giovanna Z. Rinaldo
The lead changed three times for the men’s soccer team before ending in a 3-3 tie against Chapman Wednesday at Ortmayer Stadium.
With the draw, La Verne is 2-0-1 overall and 0-0-1 in Southern California Intercollegiate play.
In a dramatic match with overtime, six total goals, a penalty kick and a red card, the Leopards struggled to keep balance in the first half but showed competitive spirit to go after the result in the second.
“I thought we did a good job coming out quickly with a lot of energy,” coach Trevor Persson said. “That energy played a role against us because we got over-excited in certain situations, but I think overall our strength was the positive energy that we put forth in the game and coming out scoring the first goal.”
La Verne got ahead in the 11th minute with senior forward Saul Uribe scoring his third goal in three games, assisted by senior defender Ferdinand Estrada.
Uribe took advantage of a ball left alive in the box by Chapman’s defenders and finished free of resistance to put the ball on the back of the net.
“It feels great, I hope to keep the momentum going and keep scoring goals,” Uribe said.
The home team was caught off-guard a minute later by Chapman’s Jake Sarmiento, who scored from a corner and put his team back in the game.
The Panthers managed to score again at the 25th minute, getting their first and only lead of the match.
“Chapman’s always a good team with possession,” Uribe said. “Usually every other time in the conference is pretty big and physical and very direct, so that was one big challenge.”
An equalizer early in the second half put La Verne back in the game.
The goal, scored by senior midfielder Briley Venti at the 46th minute, came from a set piece and ignited the Leopards’ attacking power.
Junior midfielder Auden Foxe, who assisted La Verne’s 2-2 equalizer goal, said the team’s biggest challenge was the first half, and the main strength was reacting to it to come back.
“I thought we played pretty well once we got our feet under us,” Foxe said. “But we just got to get the nerves out.”
The Leopards had the lead once again at the 66th minute, with a goal by freshmen forward Christopher Wong, assisted by Foxe.
“We saw we were losing 2-1, came back from that and took the lead,” Uribe said. “We were resilient.”
At the 70th minute, Chapman senior midfielder Sam Rudich scored from the penalty spot and tied the game, 3-3, taking it to overtime.
After 20 goalless minutes, the final whistle blew to confirm the tie.
“The biggest challenge is our inability to stay composed in our defensive half,” Persson said. “We got overexcited, we wanted to make that decisive challenge when we didn’t have to, and that kinda put us in trouble.”
La Verne kept their undefeated streak alive, moving their overall record to 2-0-1. It was the first time the team allowed any goals in the season.
The team’s two wins came against George Fox, 4-0, Sept. 2 and St. Katherine, 2-0, Sunday.
“We had the lead twice so that’s a strength as well,” Persson said. “We responded after being scored on, so those are some positives you can take out of it.”
The team’s goals include finishing in top four in SCIAC after a tie for second place last year, Persson said.
“We just want to finish on top four, get into the postseason tournament and anything happens from there,” he said. “I’d like to see our guys keep possession a little bit, have the ability to find our players going forward,” Persson said. “Play more positive balls than negative balls, be aggressive in the attack and composed in the defense.”
The Leopards will host Caltech at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium.