By: Julie Laugel/GCU Staff
“The core of our teams made it through comebacks, low numbers, bumps and bruises and never gave up,” said Bolton. “They challenged me and always wanted more from their experience.”
Behind the organization of GCU Men’s Club Soccer Head Coach Lance Thompson, the Lopes experienced changes from the very beginning of their season, and were among several other teams in the region to form the Southwest Conference.
“Our ability to reformat our league was unexpected at the start of the season, and had some bumps along the way, but ultimately turned into a huge positive,” said Bolton. “We were able to add teams like Arizona Christian University and Ottawa University into our league, which we wouldn’t have otherwise played (in the) league standings. It now looks like we will be able to continue to expand the league for years to come.”
With a new league came the opportunity for a new identity.
Despite having only three returners and a change of conferences, both teams were able to improve on their sole win from the 2018 season. GCU Team Purple finished the 2019 season with a 6-4-3 overall record, while GCU White ended with a 2-8-2 record.
In order to reshape their identity, the Lopes looked to players like Gabby McGaughey to lead them to success.
“Gabby leads by consistently being the hardest worker, playing any position asked of her, and just being an overall great person and kind and generous teammate,” said Bolton. “Her “off-the-field” leadership skills grew tremendously. She was one of our student-leaders and was relied on heavily in that role.”
Along with McGaughey, the team could rely on leading scorer Lexi Baca, who scored nine of the team’s 32 total season goals. GCU’s Kaitlyn Halverson was second on the team with six goals.
Despite their improvements from the 2018 season, both teams’ hopes of making it to the conference playoffs and the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Regional tournament were cut short after losses to the University of Arizona at the end of the regular season.
That did nothing to tarnish the admiration Bolton had for the squad.
“Something I am really proud of our team for this year was our ability to be resilient, come with a competitive spirit to every game we played and still hold a high level of dignity and respect for opponents,” said Bolton. “I think this team will only continue to grow as leaders within the GCU community.”
Interested in GCU Women’s Club Soccer? Contact Head Coach Hannah Bolton for more information!