By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
No one ever said it would be easy.
Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse fended off a constant push from the University of Arizona, fighting for a 12-9 road win in Tucson late Saturday evening.
The Lopes (8-2) did in fact lead from the 3:16 mark in the first quarter all the way to the final buzzer, but never held more than a two-goal lead until scoring twice in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter to create the final margin.
“We were playing on the road against a team that has absolutely nothing to lose,” Lopes’ Head Coach Manny Rapkin said. “It’s an in-state rivalry. It’s always a battle. Sometimes you have to grind those wins out.”
The 6th-ranked Lopes opened up a 2-0 lead early in the first quarter with Cooper Snowbarger scoring 17 seconds into the game, and Weston Gotuzzo adding the second goal three minutes later. The Wildcats – who have lost seven straight by an average of only three goals – had their own scoring run over the ensuing five minutes by putting in the next three to take their first and only lead of the game. With 3:29 to go in the first quarter, Snowbarger added his second to tie the game, 3-3, then GCU scored two more times in 30 seconds – thanks to Kyle Crews and Jordan Vicente – to retake the lead for good.
Keeping the lead would not be easy as UA had an answer for every GCU goal the rest of the way. UA’s Colton Lloyd scored with 44 seconds left in the first half to cut the GCU lead to 7-6 at halftime. The alternating scoring continued until with 2:25 left, Cian Peterson netted a pass from Crews in transition, then with 1:07 remaining, Cody Clark found Logan Phillips via a nifty behind-the-back pass with the goalie out of the crease to give the Lopes the final score of 12-9.
Clark had three goals on the night, the sixth time he has scored at least three in a game this season. He now has a team-leading 30 goals this year. Peterson also tallied three for a season total of 14, good for third on the team.
The Lopes have never lost to the Wildcats since their first season as a Division I team in 2013.
GCU now has just one final game remaining on the season: Senior Day against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas this Saturday, April 14 at 1 pm at GCU’s Prescott Field. Admission is free.