Rodriguez, Wong lift Men's Soccer past UCSC, 2-1

Rodriguez, Wong lift Men's Soccer past UCSC, 2-1

LA VERNE, Calif. — A pair of freshmen lifted the University of La Verne men's soccer team over UC Santa Cruz, 2-1, on Wednesday evening at Ortmayer Stadium.

Christopher Wong opened the scoring five minutes into the game and Manuel Rodriguez scored the first goal of his collegiate career in the 36th minute to win the game for the Leopards.

The Leopards blitzed the Banana Slugs out of the gate and rode the early wave to get the goals they needed.

Wong was drifting outside the right post inside the penalty box, dragging UC Santa Cruz goalkeeper Andrew Pimentel with him. He then placed a pinpoint shot to the left post with his right foot to give the Leopards an early lead.

La Verne continued its pressure and Rodriguez scored a beauty of a goal to open his collegiate account. He drove his left laces through the ball from just outside the penalty box and it took a wicked dip just under the crossbar and into the net.

The Leopards came out of the break just a bit too relaxed and gave one up 15 minutes into the second half as Amr Makhamreh played a free kick from the right wing to the far post and Ryan Nyberg headed it past Gerardo Vazquez.

The two teams traded a flurry of quality chances the rest of the game but neither team could finish. In the 73rd minute, the Banana Slugs had at least three point-blank opportunities but Vazquez made a couple of saves and the defense came up with a near-goal line clearance to preserve the lead. For La Verne, Ryan Adams had a look at an open goal in the 83rd, but rushed the shot and sailed it high.

Playing a non-conference game during the middle of a grueling SCIAC stretch, La Verne went with an unconventional lineup to start the game and mixed in the entire roster throughout the game. A total of 24 players saw the field for La Verne.

The Leopards return to SCIAC action on Saturday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

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