By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
Using it as a barometer for how far their young team has progressed, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Soccer team forged two ties in three matches at the annual Aztec Cup in San Diego, California. The Lopes went 0-1-2 in their three pool play matches-including forging a tie with eventual tournament finalist Utah Valley University.
The Lopes began the tournament against the University of San Diego facing the Toreros Friday night, but struggled to connect as a team, and dropped a 4-0 decision.
“We battled and played hard, but struggled to finish off plays,” said Lopes Head Coach Hannah Bolton. “We only have seven returners. We are a brand-new team still getting to know each other and how we play as a team.”
Next, the Lopes showed what they learned from Friday against the Wolverines of Utah Valley University, finishing two scoring opportunities by freshmen Morgan Engdahl and Josie Zinniker. The Lopes maintained the lead throughout the match-only to see a last-minute goal by UVU finish the match in a 2-2 tie.
“Our possession and decision-making improved in the second game,” said Bolton. “It was physical, and it was a battle, but unfortunately, we ran out of gas to finish the game.”
In the The Lopes’ final match up of the tournament against the the University of California, San Marcos, the Lopes spotted the Cougars an early goal, but battled back late in the match. GCU sophomore Hannah Rowlands sent a cross into the Cougars’ box, where sophomore Rachel Wang ran onto the ball to send a shot in the back of the net to tie the match. The Cougars were awarded a penalty kick inside the Lopes’ box in the final seconds, but GCU freshman goalkeeper Karen Pena made a huge save to maintain the 1-1 tie.
“The tournament was extremely positive for us-despite the results,” said Bolton. “This tournament was all about playing great competition in a fun tournament and developing our team chemistry. I think the fitness and the chemistry we gained from the trip will allow us to get into specifics, and sort out some of the kinks we still have to prepare us for the remainder of our season.”
The Lopes will take the field again this Saturday, October 6 against the Wildcats of the University of Arizona in Tuscon.
Interested in GCU Club Sports? Join the club today!