By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
Another season has come and gone for the Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Soccer program. The Lopes ended the fall season with a tough 3-0 loss against the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona University. Now Lopes’ Head Coach Hannah Bolton has a couple of months to evaluate things in preparation for the 2019 spring season.
With the late departure of then-head coach Erin Reinke back in August, Bolton had little time to get things assembled when she was named the new head coach a couple of weeks later. Bolton is a former GCU student and club soccer player who created high expectations for the fall season, but the Lopes endured a schedule of heavy-hitting competition that resulted in a 1-2-8 overall record.
“It was hard to stay positive when our results weren’t always positive, but I was proud that the girls stuck with it and finished the season with some strong games,” said Bolton. “We began to click as a team and the freshman gained some experience, so I am very happy with that.”
The team chemistry Bolton referenced was a key advantage for the Lopes’ only win of the season against the Sun Devils of Arizona State University October 21. The Lopes scored three goals late in the second half to pull-off an impressive 3-2 comeback victory over the Sun Devils.
“This season, the club did a great job on both teams of gaining experience and improving on technical skills in practice,” added Bolton. “The competitive clubs around the nation have retention within their club and grow off returning players. We are hoping to keep this group of girls together and continue to grow and learn as a team.”
The Lopes had an all-around tough season, but a few Lopes stood out to their coach.
“Freshman Morgan Engdahl was a stand-out player for us this year,” said Bolton. “She came back from an ankle sprain and was faced with other adversities, but was always a positive player, competitor, teammate, and worker. Her work rate and grit is incredible, and she has the ability to lead a really great team to some big things in the future.”
Bolton also pointed to the play of sophomore Hannah Rowlands and junior Rachel Macrane. “Both girls brought in great intensity to games and practices which showed the incoming freshmen what college soccer requires from players in terms of intensity and physicality,” said Bolton.
The Lopes will return for the spring season in January.