16-shot Lopes’ attack puts match out of reach early against Lumberjacks
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
This will take the sting out of the lone loss… and then some.
The GCU Men’s Club Soccer team came home from San Diego last weekend with heads held high about reaching the championship match of the Aztec Cup Tournament, but knew their head coach was smarting a bit from a tough loss in the final match against Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo. Friday night, they found a quick way to eradicate that memory from Lance Thompson’s head, turning Prescott Field on the GCU campus into their own offensive show while putting a smile on Thompson’s face with a 5-0 shutout of Northern Arizona University. The five goals were easily the Lopes’ highest output for goals in a single game this year, and they propelled the Lopes to their sixth victory in their first eight games of 2017.
The Lumberjacks started the match on their heels and never reversed the trend as the Lopes’ offense refused to let the ball out of the NAU zone in the first 12 minutes. GCU’s Jesus Ruiz found a hole in the NAU back line to punch through an unassisted goal in the 10th minute, and Brandon Wishman provided insurance exactly 2 minutes later with a beautiful shot off a Daniel Malki assist to give the Lopes a 2-0 lead. “With the competition we’ve played up to this point-with Arizona State, Arizona and Texas-El Paso (among others), you can tell things are coming together,” remarked Thompson about the first few minutes of the game. “We wanted to get off to a great start tonight.” Any thoughts of an NAU comeback were squelched by halftime as Emerson Lopez and Wishman added goals to give the Lopes a 4-0 lead at the break.
Lost in the glare of the offensive explosion was the fact that the Lopes’ defense allowed just a single NAU shot on goal over the first 50 minutes of play to help the Lopes build the lead and keep it. Ruiz scored the only goal of the second half in wild fashion, firing a 35-yard shot that pinballed its way into the NAU net in the 63rd minute. Lopes’ goalkeeper Jose Lomas recorded seven saves in going the distance, and the Lopes’ offense outshot NAU, 16-6, for the match.
The Lopes aren’t done with the Lumberjacks this weekend, since the two teams will finish off the home-and-home series Sunday afternoon in Flagstaff, and Thompson expects a much tougher match. “It’s not going to be the same game,” said Thompson. “Travel in this league is a bit difficult. But if we can stick to our message of executing our roles and responsibilities like we have been, we should be fine.” After Sunday, the Lopes head back home for a three-day homestand next weekend beginning with a return match against Arizona State, the team that GCU vanquished in the season opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 7PM next Friday, October 6th, at Prescott Field.