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Men's Soccer surges late in win over Willamette

Men's Soccer surges late in win over Willamette

LA VERNE, Calif. — Johnny DeRueda gave the Leopards the lead in the second half and the University of La Verne men's soccer team added two more goals late on their way to a 3-0 win over Willamette Monday night at Ortmayer Stadium.

Season Impact: The Leopards improve to 2-0 this season, outscoring their opponents 10-0. Willamette drops to 0-3.

After coming close a few times in the opening half, the Leopards finally got on the board in the 61st minute when Luis Hernandez filtered a ball to DeRueda, a freshman from Rialto, drilled a shot to the bottom right corner of the net to earn his first collegiate goal and give his team the lead. 

Later in the 83rd minute, a handball in the box by the Bearcats gave Christopher Wong a chance at a penalty kick. Willamette keeper Marco Gonzalez-Yanez made a great diving save on the initial shot, but Wong gathered the rebound and laid down a second hard shot, this time finding the back of the net. 

The Leopards weren't done there. Less than minute later, DeRueda sent a perfect pass to Hernandez who beat the keeper for an easy goal and a 3-0 lead.

La Verne's defense stayed busy during the opening minutes of the game, with the Willamette attack pressuring the Leopard backline. But keepers Rene Gonzalez and Tristan Polakowski combined for three saves in the period to keep the Bearcats off the board. Polakowski finished the game with three saves.

The Leopards had a few opportunities to get on the board in the first the half with the best chances coming from a DeRueda shot in the box that was blocked, and another a few minutes later from Ryan Adams whose shot was stopped by a diving Gonzalez-Yanez. 

But the script flipped in the second half with the Leopards peppering Willamette with seven shots that led to the 3-0 win.

Next Game: The Leopards take their first road trip of the year on Wednesday when they open up SCIAC play at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Game time is set for 7 p.m.