Lopes’ Ryan Crews sticks game winning goal in extra frame
By: Giovanni Hicks/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
Photo Credits: Taylor Hansen
Sweet revenge in exciting fashion.
Trailing by two goals in the fourth quarter, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse team mounted an exhilarating comeback, defeating the Utah Valley University Wolverines 12-11 in overtime Saturday afternoon at Prescott Field on the GCU campus. The win evened the Lopes’ record at 1-1.
Overtime against the Wolverines is a familiar place for the Lopes. This was the third time the GCU has played UVU, the third time their matchup went into overtime, but the first time GCU came out victorious.
“This is a game I will remember for a long time,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Jeff Guy. “Sometimes you have to find a way to win, and that’s exactly what we did here.”
Lopes’ junior Griffin Rodas started the match red hot, scoring GCU’s first four goals of the contest. UVU’s offense matched that of Rodas and company, ending the first half in a 5-5 tie. UVU’s attackmen took advantage of key injuries in the Lopes’ defense (including GCU freshman Kyle Zanski, whose left leg injury sent him to the sidelines with five minutes left in the period), doubling their overall goal output to take a 10-8 lead after three quarters.
Then the Lopes rose to the occasion.
The shorthanded Lopes’ defense stepped it up in the fourth, shutting out UVU for nearly the entire quarter until Wolverines’ attackman Payton Kimber scored his third goal of the match with 33 seconds left in regulation. By that time, GCU had scored three goals, led by junior Kyle Crews, who scored or assisted on every Lopes’ goal in the period, including a beautiful feed to freshman Grant Warren to catch the defenders off guard. UVU had a chance to win the game in regulation with two final strikes, but Lopes’ goalkeeper John Tibbetts stood his ground, saving both shots to give his squad a chance in overtime.
The overtime period was a physical and mental grind for both teams, but as exhaustion began to set in midway through the period, the Lopes capitalized on a crucial penalty by UVU, getting the ball to Lopes’ freshman midfielder Ryan Crews in the middle of the field. Crews followed the lead of his older brother, blasting a powerful shot from 13 yards out right past the UVU keeper for the gamewinner. The squad rushed the field in celebration of the freshman’s first collegiate goal.
“I read the defense and saw a lot of open field,” said Ryan Crews. “I hit my defender with a left-to-right move, shot a high bouncer and it went through.”
While Ryan made the play of the game, Kyle had a four-goal performance of his own, combining with Rodas for eight total scores.
“I can’t say enough about the heart of those UVU players,” said Kyle Crews. “I’m happy our squad was able to step up and take home the win.”
The Lopes’ next game will be played at GCU Stadium against the University of Arizona at 1:00 pm next Saturday, March 13.
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