By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern (Photo Courtesy of Gillian Rea)
“If our guys can execute, it is going to be a very interesting night Friday.”
Ask lacrosse fans in Tucson if they agree with the words of GCU Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Manny Rapkin, and it’s likely heads will nod. The Lopes were heavy underdogs at this time last week as they headed to southern Arizona to take on the University of Arizona in the first round of the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC) Division 1 Tournament, and silenced the David Sitton Field crowd by leading wire-to-wire in a 12-10 upset.
The underdog title is just as big for this Friday’s matchup in the SLC Semifinals as the No. 20 Lopes battle No. 5 Chapman University, the top seed from the SLC North, and now, no one on this side of the lacrosse world is taking GCU’s storied program lightly.
For GCU, the 3rd seed in the SLC South, the game plan is simple.
“We have to hold them to under ten and score more than ten,” emphasized Rapkin, echoing his own sentiments from a week ago. “I think it is going to be that kind of game. That is going to be the scenario in which we will have the most success.”
That game plan has worked for the Lopes in their last two victories. They defeated University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 13-9, two weekends ago to close out the regular season before taking the Wildcats out of the postseason.
One hidden advantage for the Lopes in those victories, as well as the 12-10 upset of then-No. 5 Concordia University-Irvine earlier this season? All three wins were on the road, and the Lopes have yet to lose a game away from home this season.
Friday’s game – although played at a neutral site – still qualifies as a road game, and something the Lopes could potentially use to their advantage.
“It is a road game,” highlighted Rapkin. “Are we developing an identity of winning on the road? Yeah, I think so. We have three wins in a row on the road. Yeah, that’s good.”
Rapkin, though, wants his team to worry less about the venue, and more about the specifics of the game.
“We are not reading into road team, home team, this score, that score,” mentioned Rapkin. “We are staying focusing on the details and the technique.”
The Lopes will take on Chapman at 6:45 pm at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad, California on Friday, April 26. GCU is considered the ‘home team’ in the neutral site matchup.
If the Lopes defeat Chapman, they will play the winner of the No. 4 (11-1) Arizona State University and No. 10 (12-3) Concordia-Irvine semifinal in the SLC Championship Final on Sunday, April 28 at 1:45 pm at La Costa Canyon High School. A win there automatically qualifies the Lopes for the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) National Championships May 6-11 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
All the GCU Men’s Lacrosse SLC tournament games from the weekend can be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRKTZyO3VtQnDEFB9gG9YlkWQEmPVqfJh.
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