Occidental took full advantage of an injury depleted La Verne team when they beat the Leopards, 13-7, on Wednesday at the La Verne Aquatic Center.
La Verne lost its two goalies, senior Alan Navarez and freshman Joseph Lamson, and its main guard, senior Mark Wilson, to injuries earlier in the week. Without its goalies and one of its starters, the Leopards needed to play a near perfect game to beat the Tigers.
“Losing both goalies was tough,” head coach Alex La said. “You can’t do much without your goalies.”
The loss of three main players was not the only thing La Verne had to deal with, as Occidental played solid defense throughout the entire match, blocking many of the Leopards’ shots.
“Coach was trying to come up with alternate plays to stop the countering,” junior two-meter Andrew Mackay said.
The Tigers came out firing, as junior Richard Dybas scored in the first minute of the game, giving them an early 1-0 lead.
La Verne would tie the game soon after with a goal by senior utility player John Roche, but it would get no closer, as Occidental scored three more goals in the period giving them a 4-1 lead.
The Leopards had numerous opportunities to cut into the Occidental lead, but the Tiger defense and sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Reuther blocked many of its attempts.
“We couldn’t capitalize the opportunities we had,” Mackay said.
With one minute left before halftime La Verne looked like it was coming to life. The Leopards scored, cutting the Occidental lead in half, 6-3, and with good defense prevented them from taking the last shot.
To start the third period the Leopards had a chance to score on a penalty shot, but once again Reuther came through for the Tigers and blocked the shot.
Just when La Verne started playing more aggressively, scoring with two minutes left in the third period, Occidental came back with a last second shot giving them a 9-5 lead. The Leopards would allow 4 more goals in the game, but with its lack of key players the score could have been a lot worse.
“Hopefully we get both our players back,” senior utility player Matthew McDowell said. “We have to train hard, play all out and put it to Pomona.”
Elsie Ramos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.