By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern
A string of nine consecutive goals spanning over 20 minutes of play in the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC) Semifinals sent the GCU Men’s Lacrosse team to a 20-10 defeat at the hands of No. 5 Chapman University on a chilly Friday night in Carlsbad, California. With the loss, the Lopes’ season ends as well.
GCU could not match the balanced goal scoring of the Panthers, who never scored less than four goals in any quarter.
“We had to play our best game tonight and we did not,” highlighted Lopes’ Head Coach Manny Rapkin. “We were trying to do too much. Against a team like this, you have to work together.”
The Lopes stayed with CU for a quarter. Chapman scored in the game’s opening minute before Lopes’ attackman Cody Clark scored an assisted goal from attackman Spencer Tate to tie the game. After Chapman took a 3-1 lead, Lopes’ attackman Cam Gilmore scored on an assist from Griffin Rodas to close the deficit again. Gilmore responded a second time after the Panthers took a 4-2 edge on an Aidan Ryan assist, but that would be as close as the Lopes would be the rest of the night.
The Lopes struggled to get going offensively in the second quarter, allowing the Panthers to pad the lead, taking a 9-3 cushion into halftime. Chapman picked up where they left off coming out of the intermission, tacking on four more before Lopes’ attackman Cam Wengreniuk – playing in his first game in over a month – ended GCU’s scoring drought on a Clark assist. Both Clark and Wengreniuk would find the back on the net once each before the end of the 3rd quarter, but the Panthers were unrelenting, taking a 16-6 lead into the fourth quarter. The Lopes’ offense finally came alive in the 4th – with Wengreniuk’s 3rd of the night, along with goals from Ayden Garwood, Kyle Crews and Tate helping the Lopes hit double figures in their final game.
“We started doing our thing at the end,” mentioned Rapkin. “We were scoring some games and playing well.”
Chapman (14-2 overall) now heads to the SLC Championship Game Sunday against Arizona State University, while the Lopes head into the offseason with a 5-8 overall record.
“Hopefully, all these failures this year result in success in the future for everybody,” reflected Rapkin. “This was a rough year, and we are going to learn from that. The main thing is that we have to keep on fighting.”
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