By: Chase Gardiner/GCU Staff
Facing some of the toughest competition they’d seen all season, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Club Soccer team lost all three matches in pool play at the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) South Regional Men’s Soccer Fall Tournament in San Luis Obispo, California. The losses eliminated them from contention for the NIRSA National Championships in Foley, Alabama at the end of this month.
In their first game of the tournament, the men faced off against the University of Southern California, who came into the tournament off of an undefeated regular season. The Lopes scored just three minutes into the match, but allowed the Trojans to battle back for a 2-1 win.
The next day’s matchup proved just as difficult as the men were overpowered by the potent offense from the University of California-Davis, losing 4-1. Ultimately, UC-Davis’s offensive firepower led them to a win in the title match Sunday and a berth at nationals.
The road to salvaging at least one win in California didn’t get any easier as the Lopes’ final pool play matchup was against yet another team with a perfect regular season, Stanford University, and a team who’d managed not to allow a single goal all year. While the Lopes were able to reverse one of those trends, it still wasn’t enough as Stanford claimed a 2-1 win.
Although his team went winless throughout the entirety of pool play, Lopes Head Coach Lance Thompson was very happy with his team’s efforts-especially in the face of some very tough opponents.
“This was a really successful weekend for us because, despite the losses, we still managed to hang in there against some very tough teams,” said Thompson. “We were able to get a better understanding of what it’s like at the regional level, and where we need to be in order to compete the next time.”
While some fierce competition was clearly a major hurdle in the path of the Lopes, Thompson still recognized that his program has plenty of room to grow before the spring season begins.
“The theme of the whole weekend for us was consistency,” explained Thompson. “We would have moments where we were right there with the best of them, and then moments where we clearly weren’t. We are going to have to focus on consistently performing, and if we can nail that down and have a good spring, we should have a much better shot next semester.”
The Lopes will now shift their focus from immediate competition to future preparation. The Lopes will return to competition for their spring season in February.
Interested in joining the men’s club soccer team? Contact the coach to learn more!