Smith, Weaver Propel Women’s Soccer Past CLU

#23 Alexa Smith (photo by Kay Hurd)
#23 Alexa Smith (photo by Kay Hurd)

LA VERNE, Calif. — Alexa Smith and JJ Weaver teamed up for a pair of goals in the second half, leading the University of La Verne women's soccer team to a 2-1 comeback win over Cal Lutheran on Saturday night at Ortmayer Stadium.

How it happened: After allowing an early goal to Cal Lutheran's Katie Moyer and looking listless in the first half, the Leopards roared out of the halftime break.

As soon as the second half whistle blew, La Verne pressured the Regals higher up the pitch and played more physically. In the 48th minute, Kelsea Varner threaded a through ball to streaking Alexa Smith on the left side. Smith then cut inside, took a look at the goal and launched a dipping shot from about 30 yards out that beat CLU's Coral Hasley for the equalizer.

La Verne struck again just three minutes later when JJ Weaver found a pocket of space in the box and put away a picture-perfect header into the net from a Natalie Vasquez free kick from the left wing. It was Weaver's fourth goal of the season.

Cal Lutheran's Katelyn Kimball had two golden chances to tie the game, but was denied by the crossbar each time. In the 66th minute, Kimball lofted a ball towards the back post from the right side that caught La Verne goalkeeper Delanie Pacheco off-guard but hit the bar. Kimball was turned away again in the 73rd minute when she put too much on a shot following a corner nick.

Players of the game: Alexa Smith and Weaver scored the goals, but the back line anchored by Lauren Toneck was especially solid in the second half. Toneck made crunching tackles and wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty.

After allowing a free kick goal from distance to Moyer, Pacheco was airtight the rest of the way. The senior made a total of six saves, all of which came after Moyer's goal.

From head coach Lauryn Pehanich:

On winning the first SCIAC match: "It feels fantastic—there is no other word for it. It was a well-deserved win with the fight that the girls showed tonight."

On what she said to the team at halftime: "I told them that people shouldn't walk off our field with an easy win. It was that simple."

What it means: La Verne (3-3-0, 1-1-0 SCIAC) bounced back after a tough loss at Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday notched its first SCIAC of the win of the season.

Up next: The Leopards will host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Sept. 24 at Ortmayer Stadium and will look to string together their first winning streak of the season.

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