By: David Carter/GCU Staff (Photo depicts GCU Purple emotionally celebrating game-winning goal against Arizona scored with less than 30 seconds left Sunday afternoon.)
By: David Carter/GCU Staff
It was a weekend to remember for GCU Men’s Club Soccer as both GCU teams, GCU White and GCU Purple, won twice in five games combined. GCU White defeated Arizona Christian University, 2-1, in a nail-biter Friday afternoon, beat University of New Mexico, 5-2, on Saturday afternoon before suffering the lone loss of the weekend: a 4-1 decision to Northern Arizona University Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, GCU Purple triumphed over NAU, 6-2, on Friday night and fought off the University of Arizona, 3-2, Sunday afternoon. All five games were held at Prescott Field on the GCU campus.
“We were really happy to get the first two wins because we played well as a team,” said Lopes’ left center-back Chase Bowen, who scored three goals for GCU over the weekend. “We knew that having three games in three days would be really difficult. We knew the last game would be the most difficult, because of our fatigue, and because we faced a good team.”
In addition to winning two of their three matches, the Lopes were also pleased about the fact that they scored six of their eight goals off of set pieces (free kicks and corner kicks) and penalty kicks.
“We are really good at moving the ball between each other,” said Bowen, whose three goals came via set pieces. “We also have some really good free-kick takers, and we are always looking to get that good field position that will put us in the best position to get an opportunity on goal.”
While Bowen led the way in scoring this weekend, it was a balanced effort, since Brandon Tesdall, Juan Loera, Cole Baker and Kevin Zamora all got into the scoring column as well for GCU.
GCU Purple also earned two wins this past weekend, including a physical 3-2 win over U of A Sunday afternoon.
“It always feels good to get wins – no matter what,” said Lopes’ striker Sebastian Nolasco, who netted three for the Lopes in the two games. “We were down 1-0 at halftime (against Arizona), and we kept our heads up. This weekend puts us in a good place for (the) league (title).”
GCU Purple’s second-half prowess made the difference, since the Lopes scored three goals in the second half of each game this weekend. The final goal was their most memorable, since it sealed the perfect weekend for GCU with 30 seconds left in Sunday’s game. Nolasco’s cross-field pass found GCU midfielder London Hardwick, who fired the game-winner past the UA goalkeeper.
Like GCU White, Nolasco and Hardwick had plenty of offensive help, since strikers Cameron Atencio and Caleb La Croix, as well as midfielders Avery Weishaar and Matteo Cozzoli each found the net at least once this weekend.
Lopes’ Head Coach Lance Thompson can now look ahead feeling supremely confident about two Lopes’ offenses that each averaged over three goals per game in the five matches.
“Our players are obviously doing a good job of executing our concepts in the attacking third of the field,” said Thompson. “That is quite an interesting stat, and we are definitely excited about that.”
The homestand continues for both teams this week as GCU Purple hosts the Firestorm of ACU Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 4:30 pm, and GCU White takes on Arizona State University on Friday, Sept. 20 at 7:00 pm. All games are at GCU’s Prescott Field and admission is FREE to all the games.