LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne women's soccer team lost its season opener, 3-0, to Vanguard on Tuesday night at Ortmayer Stadium.
The set piece was the difference. Vanguard used its size to win aerial battles and scored two goals off corner kicks.
How it happened: Danyelle Allen opened the scoring in the 24th minute on a play the Leopards would probably chalk up to bad luck. Ashley McCutcheon volleyed a back line clearance perfectly into the penalty box and Allen headed the pass over charging La Verne goalkeeper Heather Seman.
Despite falling behind early, it was La Verne who passed up the best chance in the opening 20 minutes. Kelsea Varner beat her defender into the box and pulled back a near-perfect pass to Tatiana Raygoza but Raygoza's shot sailed just high.
The Lions added a goal in the closing minutes of the first half as Jessica Taukeiaho found a loose ball off a corner kick and slotted it in to take a commanding 2-0 lead into the break.
Vanguard extended its lead in a similar fashion in the second half as Megan Stoll punched one in off a corner kick from Nicole Dunn.
What it means: La Verne dropped to a top-ranked NAIA scholarship school with a big physical advantage. The Leopards will look to use the game in learning experience as it heads into in-division play.
Up next: The Leopards will host UC Santa Cruz on Friday for a rare 9 a.m. kickoff.