LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne men's soccer team got off to a slow start and never recovered, losing 2-0 to Chapman in the first round of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament on Thursday night at Ortmayer Stadium.
La Verne finishes the season 14-5-1 overall and has likely played its last game of the season. Chapman goes to 14-4-2 and moves on to the SCIAC championship final against Redlands.
Chapman got on the board in the 28th minute as Elliot Braund blasted a free kick into the net from about 35 yards out. Chapman kept on the pressure the rest of the first half as it outshot La Verne, 10-2, in the first half. And with the Leopards on their heels, Auden Foxe was shown a straight red card after a tangle in the 41st minute.
La Verne took the one-goal deficit into halftime and came out of the break with just the right amount of physical play and aggressiveness. The Leopards absorbed Chapman's pressure well and in the 65th minute, got the break it needed as Braund was shown his second yellow card.
La Verne coach Trevor Persson then re-inserted his attacking trio of Nathan Gonzalez, Justin Funes and Saul Uribe to tilt the momentum but it was Chapman who caught the Leopards out of position to put away the dagger goal.
Marco Saglimbeni drove to the end line on the right side, played a good cross into the box and Jake Sarmiento met it with a header to give the Panthers a two-goal cushion.
La Verne earned a handful of corner kicks down the stretch and Funes and Uribe each had a half-decent looks saved by Sean Augustine.
Despite falling just short in the tournament, the Leopards have finished in second place for the second year in a row and stayed in the hunt for the 2016 SCIAC championship until the final day of the season. La Verne graduates 10 seniors and will look to reload to make another run next year.