It takes special players to win a national championship and the Grand Canyon University men’s lacrosse representation on the All-American teams is proof.
Seven Lopes players were recognized on the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association’s All-American teams, including three first-team picks — senior attacker Joe Balestrieri, sophomore attacker Cam Wengreniuk and sophomore midfielder Jordan Vicente.
Vicente was one of four players off the GCU defense to receive MCLA All-America honors. Sophomore long stick midfielder Jack Lamey and sophomore goalkeeper Alex Larson were named to the second team while Brandon Suchand was named honorable mention.
“All four of those guys are very talented athletically and skill-wise,” GCU defensive coordinator Jeff Guy said. “Three of those guys are ground-ball machines with athletic ability, speed and strength but also their will and mental focus. And Alex Larson had the experience and competitiveness.
“They all just had a fire that burns within them. They don’t work hard for All-American honors. They just work hard to be great. You can’t teach that.”
Vicente, a Chula Vista, Calif., native, scored six goals and added 41 ground balls. Lamey, a Calas, Wash., native, led the team with 67 ground balls while Suchand, a Lake Forest, Calif., native, accumulated 39 ground balls, an especially large total for a close defender.
Larson, a Scottsdale, Ariz., native, averaged 10.6 saves per game with a 6.8 goals against average per game while saving 61 percent of opponents’ shots on goal.
Balestrieri’s and Wengreniuk’s scoring put them on first team with the help of the playmaking from Ekeroth, a third-team pick.
Balestrieri, a Rancho Bernardo, Calif., native, led GCU with 62 goals while also adding 21 assists and 31 ground balls. Wengreniuk, an Edmonton, Alberta, native, scored 60 goals while getting 13 assists and 17 ground balls. Ekeroth had a team-high 22 assists and scored 25 goals.
“Joe, Cam, and Austin are great individual talents who narrowed their focus to winning a championship and forgot a lot of the other stuff,” GCU head coach Manny Rapkin said. “That’s what makes them All-Americans in my opinion.”