By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
Feeling the heat in more ways than one.
This past Sunday, with field temperatures reaching over 110 degrees, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Soccer team opened their season at home with a double header against Northern Arizona University and Benedictine University. The Lopes started off strong against both teams, but wore down in the second half of both matches, losing to NAU, 2-1, before falling to Benedictine University, 9-0.
The Lopes put in their first team on the field in the first game against the Lumberjacks of NAU, and scored a goal in the first two minutes of the match from freshman Madison Lowdon to take the lead. The Lopes dominated possession throughout the half, but were unable to find another scoring opportunity. The Lumberjacks tied the match in the 33rd minute on a free kick to send the teams to halftime tied at 1-1.
The Lopes came out of the gates early in the second half to dominate possession. Though there were tough efforts to push back the NAU offense, the Lumberjacks finished an opportunity of a corner-kick in the 52nd minute to take a lead, 2-1, and held the Lopes scoreless the rest of the way to get the win.
“I feel like we dominated the first game, but got unlucky with the result,” said Lopes Head Coach Hannah Bolton. “We had some dangerous attack, but couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net. We got countered twice, and that was how NAU found their opportunities and capitalized them.”
Bolton sent her second team out for the 1 pm match-up against the RedHawks of Benedictine University Junior Varsity team.
Early on, the RedHawks took control of the match to score with in the first seven minutes. The Lopes couldn’t stop the RedHawks attack throughout the half, and Benedictine took a 5-0 lead at half-time.
Going into the second half, Bolton changed formation to give the Lopes’ a better attacking advantage. Though the new formation was able to provide a couple of fast breaks, the Lopes were unable to put the ball in the back of the net. Benedictine regained possession and put the game away, scoring four more goals for a 9-0 victory.
“The girls worked hard,” said Bolton. “Fitness was an issue-as well as attacking runs and losing marks defensively-but those are all things that are very fixable, especially when we have only had four practices together.”
Sunday was a learning curve for the Lopes, and Bolton has a new plan of attack to kick off the rest of season.
“We have the Aztec Cup (in San Diego, California) coming up in two weeks, and that’s a huge focus for us,” said Bolton. “Getting our outside backs more involved in our attack, getting our forwards more involved in dynamic runs, and finding the correct through balls will be a priority for the next two weeks.”
“We have the personnel this year to be very dangerous in our attack, and I’m excited to get creative with that.”
The Lopes will be back on the pitch on Tuesday, September 25 at Prescott Field to take on the Firebirds of the Arizona Christian University Junior Varsity team at 6:30 pm.