By: Natalie Van Dyke/GCU Staff
GCU White eliminated from playoff contention
It was a bittersweet weekend for GCU Men’s Club Soccer teams finishing out conference play. GCU Purple clinched both the Southwest Soccer Conference’s inaugural regular season title and an automatic bid to the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Regional Tournament, while GCU White’s loss eliminated them from the postseason picture.
Saturday: University of New Mexico 2, GCU Purple 0
Saturday morning, GCU Purple suffered their first conference defeat to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. UNM had the upper hand in the second half, scoring both goals and handing the Lopes their first shutout in conference play.
“New Mexico was very organized,” said GCU Assistant Coach Hannah Bolton. “They did a really good job of contesting any shot and clogging up the box, which made it hard to score. We just had trouble adapting and finding a way around that hurdle.”
Although a win would have been a positive end to the end of conference play for the Lopes, the loss didn’t crush GCU’s title hopes, since the University of Arizona’s win over Arizona State University Friday night clinched first place for the Lopes. The Lopes’ 6-1-2 record was a great improvement from the four conference losses they suffered last year, and the first-place finish allows them to bypass regionals this weekend, and head straight to the NIRSA Region VI South Tournament beginning Oct. 25 in San Luis Obispo, California.
“We have a good healthy team ready to go to regionals,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Lance Thompson. “The next week-and-a-half, we are focusing on our fundamentals, concentrating on who we are at the core of our program, and we think that’s enough to get a regional championship.”
Sunday: University of Arizona 6, GCU White 1
A devastating 6-1 deficit for GCU White created a bitter ending to its season. GCU White needed a victory in order to qualify for the postseason, which could have opened the door for another NIRSA regional qualifying position.
U of A put the game out of reach in the first half, taking a 4-0 lead at halftime. Ryan Carter scored the only goal of the day for GCU.
“It was a bummer of an ending to the season,” said Thompson. “But we are excited about what we have moving forward.”