Leopards Fall on Final Day of IE Classic

Leopards Fall on Final Day of IE Classic

LA VERNE, CA — The University of La Verne men's water polo team battled but couldn't fight off tough opponents on the final day of the Inland Empire Classic.

Game One: Fresno Pacific 14, La Verne 13

Alam Barnuevo scored a career-high six goals and the Leopards went down to the wire against Fresno Pacific, but Zach Zetz scored with nine seconds left in the game to give the Sunbirds a one-goal win at Las Flores Park.

Vasil Halchev and Charles Ortega each notched a hat-trick in the effort and Guillermo Ocasio added one goal.

Ryan Lehotsky finished with 12 saves and three steals.

Curtis Vidinoff led Fresno Pacific with four goals.

Heading into the final eight minutes tied 10-10, Ortega connected with Barnuevo to give the Leopards the edge with early in the period.

But it took Cameron Olson just 14 seconds to pull the Sunbirds back even with La Verne.

With just under one minute to play and the game knotted at 13-13, the Leopards had an opportunity but Zetz poked the ball away to give the Sunbirds an opportunity.

On the ensuing possession, Lehotsky picked up a huge save for the Leopards to keep the game even. That gave Myles Storms a chance at the net for La Verne but his shot just missed, bouncing off the post.

Fresno Pacific took a timeout with 22 seconds remaining to set up Zetz's game-winning score.

Game Two: Concordia Irvine 22, La Verne 12

The Eagles pulled away in the second half and La Verne couldn't recover in the final game of the Inland Empire Classic.

Halchev added four more goals to his weekend tally and also finished with one assist and one steal.

Barnuevo scored three times for the Leopards with one steal. Senior Joey Sabers totaled two steals, one goal, and one assist. 

After leading by two at the end of the first frame, Concordia went on a tear in the second quarter, outscoring the Leopards 7-2 to pull away for good.

Lehotsky finished with 10 saves and one steal.

Gage Unsoeld, Christian Gonzalez, Ocasio, and Ortega each scored once.

Messan Moore led the Eagles with six goals.

Season Impact

The Leopards fall to 3-5 overall.

Next Game

The Leopards next open SCIAC play on Wednesday, September 25 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

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