LA VERNE, Calif. — The usual suspects delivered for the University of La Verne men's soccer team and the Leopards defeated Whittier, 3-0, on Saturday night at Ortmayer Stadium.
Nathan Gonzalez scored the opener in the 17th minute, Justin Funes netted in the 54th and Saul Uribe hit the dagger in the 72nd to lift the Leopards. The trio has accounted for 13 of La Verne's 20 goals so far this season.
La Verne improves to 6-1-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the SCIAC. Whittier falls to 2-6-0 and 1-5-0.
La Verne played its most complete game of the SCIAC season so far. The Leopards controlled the ball for most of the game and were composed in defense, not making any harsh tackles that cost them goals in previous games.
And they were clinical in finish. Gonzalez, who started out on the left side tonight, made a perfect overlapping play with Uribe and buried his first attempt of the game. Uribe got the ball from Javier Jasso in midfield and played a good through ball to Gonzalez, who beat Whittier goalkeepr Jorge Rivas.
La Verne kept on the pressure, outshooting the Poets, 8-3, in the first half and Funes added the insurance marker shortly after the start of the second half. A corner kick leaked out to Ferdinad Estrada on the right side and the La Verne right back found Funes near post and Funes slotted it into the net.
The Poets began to play with more sense of urgency, forcing a tough save from Josh Ramirez and just missing on a headed shot by Connor Tait-Mole, but gave up a free kick just outside the penalty box on a counterattack in the 72nd minute and opened the door for Uribe's backbreaker.
And it was a thing of beauty. The free kick spot was just off to the right, providing an easier angle for a lefty. But Estrada, who was standing on the ball with Uribe, ran over the ball and Uribe curled it past the wall and the ball dipped hard into the bottom right corner for the goal.
Ramirez ended the game with three saves for La Verne.
The Leopards are back in action on Wednesday at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.