Photo by Chris Mora
LA VERNE, Calif. — A good goal by Brandon Kearney in the 64th minute saw Cal Lutheran past the La Verne men's soccer team, 1-0, on Monday night at Ortmayer Stadium.
La Verne squandered a golden opportunity to gain ground on first-place Redlands, who lost at Pomona-Pitzer earlier in the day. The Leopards fall to 10-4-1 overall and remain in second place in the SCIAC standings at 8-4-1. Cal Lutheran improves to 7-7-1 and 6-6-1.
Kearney launched a hard, dipping shot from about 20 yards out that was too much for La Verne goalkeeper Josh Ramirez to handle. Ramirez made a good diving effort and got his hand on it, but the ball deflected in.
The Leopards had a good chance to open the scoring themselves just minutes earlier. Justin Funes dropped a nice pass off to Nathan Gonzalez from the end line but Gonzalez's sliding effort was turned away by his marker.
La Verne had decent chances to even the game, but the best one came in the closing seconds of the game. With the Leopards crashing forward, the ball somehow found Humberto Irra near the edge of the six-yard box but the La Verne center back couldn't square it up in the mad scramble.
The Kingsmen had a chance to get on the board almost immedately after the the starting whistle as a sharp attempt by Max Sharpe was cleared at the goal line by Ferdinand Estrada. The Leopards settled down and controlled the run of play for the rest of the first half but couldn't find a goal and ceded the momentum to the Kingsmen in the second half.
Other than the goal about which he couldn't do much, Ramirez was solid in net, collecting six saves.
Cal Lutheran's Eduardo Garcia made three saves.
The Leopards will take a brief break from SCIAC play and return to action on Wednesday evening against UC Santa Cruz.