THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The University of La Verne women's soccer team started their 2017 season in dramatic fashion. Senior Jessica Hernandez found the back of the net twice, with the second coming at the start of the second overtime period, lifting the Leopards to a 2-1 opening day win over St. Catherine at Cal Lutheran.
In the opening minutes of the second overtime period, junior Andrea Story found an open Hernandez. The senior broke away and beat keeper Jessica Perez-Adame, scoring the golden goal and giving the Leopards the win.
The game opened as a defensive stalemate with neither team able to find the back of the net in the first half. The Leopards rattled off five shots in the period but couldn't find any gaps in the St. Catherine defense. The Leopards defense limited the Wildcats to just two shots in the first 45 minutes.
La Verne finally broke the deadlock when Hernandez sank a shot to the left side of the goal in the 64th minute off an assist from junior Anna Ottley, giving the Leopards the opening lead.
The Leopards' lead looked like it would hold until the end of regulation with under six minutes to play. But the Wildcats' Shannon Hickey scored the equalizer with under 85th minute to play to force overtime, setting up Hernandez's heroics.
Jasmine Valdez stayed busy in front of the net, picking up five saves in the second half and overtime periods.
Season Impact: The Leopards start off the season 1-0. St. Catherine falls to 0-2.
Next Game: The Leopards host their home opener this Saturday against UC Santa Cruz at 5 p.m at Ortmayer Stadium.