Second-Half Flurry Favors La Verne in SCIAC Tilt

Remi Edwards
Remi Edwards

LA VERNE, Calif. - All three goals in Wednesday's contest between the La Verne Leopards and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas were scored in a 10-minute span in the middle of the second-half. The Athenas found the back of the net once, but their effort fell just short in a 2-1 decision for La Verne in the SCIAC opener for both teams.

The Leopards got on the board first with a strike in the 67th minute, but just five minutes later the Athenas countered with a breakaway goal from Aarthi Namasivayam (HMC). Four minutes after that, the Leopards took the lead back when Lauren Redding found the side netting for La Verne from a nearly impossible angle on the end-line for what proved to be the game-winning goal.

The two sides played the first-half to a 0-0 stalemate. The Leopards held a slim 3-2 edge in shots, with each team collecting one corner kick. La Verne took their corner in the 21st minute and Megan Lo (CMC) attempted CMS' in the 25th minute, but neither side could get a shot off their opportunity.

After the first-half saw a majority of play go through the midfield, the game opened up in the second-half. The Athenas and Leopards combined for 15 shots after the break, with play going end-line to end-line many times throughout the period.

The first three minutes of the second-half showed that the tone of the game had changed. While an attempt from Megan Lo was saved and the Leopards sent a shot high, it was a sign of things to come. The opportunities did not stop there, but the match remained scoreless into the 62nd minute when an inadvertent handball in the box by the Athenas gave a penalty kick to the Leopards.

Juna Bouchekara for La Verne stepped up and went one-on-one with CMS keeper, Claire Hamson (CMC). As Bouchekara approached, Hamson guessed correctly and dove to her right, but the attempt sailed wide of the post and game remained scoreless.

After missing her opportunity in the 62nd minute, Bouchekara would get her redemption just moments later. In the 66th minute she took a pass from Jessica Hernandez at the top of the box and after a couple of quick touches snuck a shot into the back of the net to put the Leopards up 1-0.

CMS kept the pressure on, now looking for an equalizer. A shot from Rhiann Holman in the 69th minute went wide, but in the 73rd minute Aarthi Namasivayam beat her defender and slotted a shot under the keeper's arm to tie the match at 1-1. The goal for Namasivayam is the first of her career and also comes on the first shot of her young career.

The game remained even for just a few minutes. In the 77th minute, the Athenas' defense forced La Verne's Lauren Redding deep into the corner. Without teammates around her for help, Redding fired a shot from outside the box at nearly an impossible angle. Her attempt somehow found the side netting to push the Leopards back in front 2-1.

Despite shots on goal in the 79th and 89th minutes by Sydney Smith (CMC) and Isaabel Streiffer (SC) respectively, the Athenas were unable to find the equalizer over the final 13 minutes and La Verne held on for the 2-1 victory.

The Athenas fall to 1-3-0 overall and open SCIAC SCIAC play 0-1-0. CMS will next take the pitch on Saturday when they make the short trip across the street to take on Pomona-Pitzer at 7:00 p.m.