Leopards win thriller over Saint Francis

Leopards win thriller over Saint Francis

LA VERNE, Calif — Jasmine Bustamante found the back of the net with less than one second left in the game and the University of La Verne women's water polo team scored a thrilling 8-7 win over Saint Francis Brooklyn Sunday morning at Las Flores Park.

With 19 seconds left to play and the game even at 7-7, Jassmine Kezman poked the ball away from the Terriers giving La Verne a chance to take the final shot of the match.

Head Coach Pat Beemer called a timeout with 16 seconds on the clock to draw up the final play. Out the break, Bustamante caught a pass at the right side of the cage, fought through a pair of Saint Francis defenders, and fired a shot past the goalie to give the Leopards the 8-7 edge with .8 seconds remaining in the game.

Victoria Mezack helped give La Verne a chance to win late. After Erin Gonzalez put the Terriers up 7-6, Mezack responded with a goal of her own off Kate Bradley assist to even the score with 2:16 on the clock. 

Shelby Garcia made her presence felt in the cage. The sophomore made some bigs saves down the stretch, finishing with 14 in the game. 

After the Leopards went down early 2-0 in the opening quarter, Mezack found Bustamante open who skipped a shot past the goalie to get La Verne on the board with 45 seconds left in the period. Bustamante, just a freshman, finished with three goals a pair of steals and an assist.

Emily Mena scored a quick goal to start the second quarter and tie the game. Kezman kept the Leopards even heading into halftime, drawing a pair of exclusions and converting both five-meter penalty shots.

After La Verne took the lead 5-4 off a Kezman to Bustamante connection, Mezack drew an exclusion setting up Kezman for her third penalty shot of the game, giving the Leopards a two-goal cushion.

But the Terriers responded, scoring back-to-back goals to tie the game and set up the Leopards' late game heroics.  

Season Impact: The Leopards earn their first win of the season, advancing to 1-5 overall. Saint Francis falls to 2-7.

Next Game: La Verne continues its busy stretch, taking on Saint Francis (PA) tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Las Flores Park.