NEWBERG, Ore. — La Verne senior forward Nick Gonsalves finished a clever pass from Javier Jasso in the 72nd minute to give the Leopards a 1-0 road victory against George Fox on Wednesday night at Austin Sports Complex.
It was a well-executed play. The Leopards patiently built the play out of the back and got the ball to Jasso, who was positioned just behind the strikers. Jasso then delivered a perfect through ball to Gonsalves, who made a quick move to get past Bruins goalkeeper Murray Noble and tapped it in.
Gonsalves, who mostly came off the bench last season to provide a spark with his track speed, got the starting nod and made the most of his opportunity. He forced a save just 49 seconds into the game and registered four shots on goal to lead the Leopards' attack.
The teams were evenly matched in the first half as they shook off season-opening jitters. Both sides pressed hard and traded a shot for shot in the opening half, with each team getting off nine shots.
Then the Leopards took over in the second half as their grueling training camp under scorching late August heat seemed to pay off. The Leopards continued to pepper the Bruins' goal while tightening up defensively as they outshot the Bruins, 9-3, in the second half.
"[George Fox] was physical and very organized defensively," La Verne head coach Trevor Persson said. "Both teams had a few opportunities in the first half but we imposed our will in the second."
La Verne also drew five corner kicks in the second half to George Fox's two.
Persson tabbed goalkeeper Josh Ramirez to start in net and the freshman responded with his first clean sheet of his collegiate career.
The Leopards will conclude their season-opening Oregon trip at Willamette tomorrow at 7 p.m.