DeRueda's hat trick pushes Men's Soccer past Poets

DeRueda's hat trick pushes Men's Soccer past Poets

LA VERNE, Calif. — Johnny DeRueda led the Univerisity of La Verne men's soccer team to a 3-2 win in an exciting back-and-forth match against the Whittier College Poets Saturday night at Ortmayer Stadium.

Season Impact: The Leopards score their first SCIAC win of the season to improve to 1-1 in conference play and 3-1 overall. The Poets fall to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in the SCIAC.

With the game notched at 2-2 in the 82nd minute, Ricardo McGary took the ball from about thirty yards out and crossed it into the box. DeRueda outjumped the defenders and connected on a header to give the Leopards their first lead of the night.

It was the third goal of the night for DeRueda and the first hat trick of his Leopard career. DeRueda, just a freshman, has had an incredible start to his collegiate career. He currently leads the Leopards with nine points with four goals and an assist.

After the Poets got on the board early, scoring in just the second minute of the game, Tyler Avila crossed the ball from the right side of the net to DeRueda who beat the keeper and touched the ball in for the equalizer. 

The game wouldn't stay tied long with Connor Tait-Mole putting Whittier up 2-1 less than five minutes later. The Leopards had a chance to go into the break tied, but a nice header from James Metoyer bounced off the post and out in the final minute of the period.

After being peppered with 14 shots from the Poets in the first half, the Leopards retained more possession in the second half and took advantage early. In the 50th minute, DeRueda found the back of the net for the second time in the game to tie the game 2-2. 

Josh Ramirez was a force in front of the net. The junior made several diving saves to keep Whittier's lead from growing, giving his squad a chance at the comeback.

Next Game: The Leopards continue SCIAC play on Wednesday, September 9 when they host the Chapman Panthers at 7:30 p.m.