Lopes bounce back from Game 1 loss against USC to take down the Bruins
By Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff
In what was a tale of two contrasting days, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse team split the two-game set with a 14-11 loss against No. 11 University of Southern California and 14-3 win against University of California-Los Angeles.
Though the Lopes came away winning just one of the two games, head coach Jeff Guy saw a lot of positives.
“It is nice to be able to see continuous improvement,” said Guy. “Moving forward into our conference schedule, it is important to have things to build off of.”
Saturday: No. 11 USC 14, GCU 11
Saturday’s game was another case of – as Guy put it – “a lack of urgency.”
The Trojans’ offense got off to a quick start, pouring in four goals in each of the first two periods while building an 8-4 lead at the half.
The second half was much kinder to the Lopes as they rallied back to make it a competitive game, even outscoring the Trojans, 5-2, in the final quarter.
Though the Lopes showed resiliency in their attack, Guy had difficulty pointing out highs over lows.
“We did a few things well, and we will always try to spot those things and learn from them,” said Guy. “But we did not play well. We didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game.”
Kobe Brown stood out for the Lopes, recording a team-high three goals and scooping up 10 ground balls.
Sunday: GCU 14, UCLA 3
Despite what the final score might indicate, Sunday’s matinee got off to a rocky start.
After not returning to their hotel until after 9 pm on Saturday, then losing an hour to daylight savings time overnight, Guy and the Lopes weren’t able to run through the UCLA scouting report or conduct a full walkthrough before the game.
“We didn’t have time to prep, but we stepped it up and showed a sense of urgency,” said Guy. “We dialed it in, knew what we needed to do to win the game.”
That urgency displayed itself immediately as the Lopes held UCLA to just one goal in the first half, showing off their best defense of the season.
“Defensively, we played better,” said Guy. “[We] collectively understood how we needed to play each guy individually.”
The Lopes were no slouch on the offensive end, either, with four players recording multiple goals. Junior attackman Grayson Goodyear led the way with four. GCU did most of their damage in the first half, scoring nine times.
Guy attributed a lot of the Lopes’ success on offense to the team showing patience with UCLA’s zone defense.
“The zone allowed us to take our time,” said Guy. “We were patient and waited for the right shot. It really allowed us to settle in and get comfortable.”
After a weekend off, the Lopes are back in action when they welcome No. 10 Brigham Young University on Wednesday, March 18 at 5 pm at GCU’s Prescott Field.
“Mentally and emotionally, it will be nice to have some time off as we prepare to welcome a top-10 program,” said Guy. “The guys understand what a big game it is for our playoff (aspirations).”
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