By David Carter/GCU Staff
“We shot the ball terribly today.”
That was the sentiment from Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Manny Rapkin after GCU’s 13-10 loss to Santa Clara University (SCU) on a rainy afternoon Sunday at Prescott Field on the GCU campus.
The 9th-ranked Lopes had opportunities to convert their shots into goals, and battled back from at least three goals down twice in the game. Every time GCU would either tie the game or momentarily take a one-goal lead (as they did early in the 3rd quarter), SCU would swing the momentum to score multiple goals in succession to reclaim the lead.
GCU & SCU exchanged goals in the first two minutes of the game, but the Broncos would then take control of the first half, scoring twice more before the end of the first quarter, then getting an early 2nd quarter goal from SCU attackman Keaton Collier to take a 4-1 lead. Lopes’ attackman Cian Peterson scored just over a minute later to cut the deficit to 2.
The Broncos responded with the next two goals to take what looked like a 6-2 deficit heading into halftime before the Lopes got a big confidence boost late in the half. With 39 seconds left in the 2nd quarter, Lopes’ attackman Cam Wengreniuk scored a crucial goal that turned out to be a momentum swing for GCU.
Fueled by that goal, the Lopes came out firing to start the second half. Lopes’ attackman Ryan McDonald and Peterson scored two goals each in the third period to give GCU a 7-6 lead.
It proved to be the Lopes’ only lead, and it would not last long. Collier singlehandedly scored three consecutive goals in the final 7 minutes of the third quarter, then scored yet again in the opening 30 seconds of the fourth to give SCU a 10-7 lead.
Determined to not let their fans down in their home opener, GCU quickly regrouped, scoring three goals in a five-minute span to tie the game at 10-10 courtesy of Lopes’ midfielder Kyle Crews, McDonald and Peterson with just over nine minutes to play.
Although the Lopes had done well to dig themselves out of 6-2 and 10-7 deficits, the Broncos owned the final rally, breaking the tie less than a minute later, then scoring insurance goals in the final four minutes to finish off the upset.
“Our finishers have to finish, “said Rapkin. “We had ten shots inside 13 yards and we shot eight of them over the cage. That is the difference today.”
Even though GCU lost their home opener, they’ll have extra time to prepare for their next two opponents.
“We have 17 days to get it together,” said Rapkin. “The next two teams are going to be really good teams. It is going to be a huge challenge.”
The Lopes will next take on No. 17 University of California, Santa Barbara and No. 25 California Polytechnic State University on Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24, respectively, at GCU’s Prescott Field. Kickoff will be at noon both days.
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