By David Carter/GCU Club Sports Web Marketing Intern (Photo courtesy of Gillian Rea)
“This Colorado team is a potential national championship team.”
GCU Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Manny Rapkin had very high praise for the No. 7 University of Colorado (CU) Buffaloes as they overcame a slow start to defeat the No. 13 GCU Men’s Lacrosse team, 16-8, Thursday night at GCU Stadium. The Lopes fell to 1-3 on the season, while CU stayed undefeated at 3-0.
“They are dynamic, big, strong, and fast,” said Rapkin. “They could do it all. This is a really, really good team.”
Although the Buffaloes may have been the better team, GCU definitely had their shining moments – especially in an action-packed first quarter.
After CU attackman Curtis Zappala scored the opening goal for the Buffaloes to give them a 1-0 lead, the Lopes – motivated by the support of a loud and raucous home crowd – came fighting back with five straight goals to end the first quarter. Four different GCU players found the net in the barrage, including two from senior attackman Cam Wengreniuk, and one each from attackmen Ryan McDonald and Cameron Gilmore as well as midfielder Spencer Tate.
However, the Buffaloes controlled the game the rest of the way. CU went on a 7-0 run through the first 10 minutes of the 2nd quarter to take the lead for good. Wengreniuk netted his third on the day late in the half, but the Lopes still trailed, 9-6, at halftime.
The second half was similar to the second quarter with the Buffaloes controlling play and scoring goals, but the Lopes gave the fans reason for hope during a late 3rd-quarter rally – thanks to Tate’s second goal of the night and Ayden Garwood’s first career goal – to narrow the Buffaloes’ lead to 13-8.
Garwood’s goal was the last Lopes’ goal of the game as Colorado scored three more times and held GCU scoreless in the 4th quarter to close out the game.
“We’ve just got to get better in every area,” said Rapkin. “Our energy was good. Our guys came out and played hard. We are a young team. We have seven freshmen on the field – including two face-off specialists. We just want to get better every game.”
The Lopes will want to ‘get better’ in one area: consistency of their attack. 14 shots on goal in the first quarter netted five Lopes’ goals, but GCU’s opportunities dwindled after that, firing just 16 times in the 2nd half at CU’s defense.
The Lopes do not have long to recover, and the nationally ranked tests keep coming. On Saturday, March 2, GCU will take on No. 19 Colorado State University. CSU comes to campus after suffering their first loss of the season Thursday at No. 10 Arizona State University, 16-6.
While that’s a recording that Rapkin might glance at, his preparation for tomorrow begins interally.
“(We need to) get in and watch the film,” reflected Rapkin on what the Lopes will do to prepare for CSU and other games later on in the season. “We have seven freshmen on the field, and this is new to them. They are all talented and they are going to get better.”
Game time Saturday between the Lopes and the CSU Rams is noon at GCU’s Prescott Field. Admission is FREE.
Interested in learning more or joining a GCU Club Sport/GCU Men’s Lacrosse? Follow us on Twitter or Instagram to get connected!