By: Natalie Van Dyke/GCU Staff
“We saw the best attack we’ve had all season,” said Lope’s Head Coach Hannah Bolton. “We implemented a lot of things we’ve been working on, and got a lot of people involved.”
Both Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Soccer[teams may have returned from the Aztec Cup Tournament in San Diego, California, this past weekend with a win and a loss each, but to Lopes’ Head Coach Hannah Bolton, the experience was anything but ‘middle of the road’ – on and off the field.
“It’s also great to see these friendships grow off the field,” said Bolton. “Traveling together will do that for you.”
Friday: San Diego 2, GCU Purple 0; San Diego State 3, GCU White 0
Friday night, the University of San Diego scored a goal in each half to tag GCU Purple with their first loss of the season, 2-0. Meanwhile, GCU White struggled to find the back of the net as well in a 3-0 loss to the host team from San Diego State University.
However, Bolton was anything but disheartened by the performances.
“We faced a lot of adversity Friday night,” said Bolton. “It was a long day on the road. We played the two toughest teams in the tournament, with SDSU being the (eventual) tournament winner. I’m happy we held the scores where we did.”
Saturday: GCU Purple 2, San Francisco 0; GCU White 1, Long Beach State 0
Saturday, the Lopes returned to the pitch and redeemed themselves with two wins.
GCU Purple made two early goals stand up in a 2-0 victory over the University of San Francisco. The September GCU Club Sports Student-Athlete of the Month, Lexi Baca, had the game-winner for the Lopes, and Kaitlyn Halverson took advantage of a penalty kick to seal the deal. Tiffani Guerrero-Lopez recorded the assist on both GCU scores.
“Our game management was great,” said Bolton. “There was a lot of pressure in the second half, but we were able to maintain that lead. Maribel (Molina) was a defensive leader and did a great job of holding our back line together.”
GCU White also shut out their opponent, California State University Long Beach, 1-0. Baca scored another for the Lopes with an assist off of a throw-in from Naomi Gaddy-Thurman. GCU goalkeeper Alyssa Kuhn had a double shutout day after being forced into dual duty due to injuries to the Lopes’ other goalkeepers, Ana Barajas and Deme Depadre.
“Kuhn battled through 160 minutes of play without any mistakes,” said Bolton, “She made some incredible saves, and stepped up for her team. It also helped to have different game times for Purple and White to get our swing players involved on both sides and have some substitutes.”
GCU Purple and GCU White wound up paired against each other in Sunday’s consolation game Sunday, but Bolton thought that time would be better spent getting healthy.
“We opted out of the game and focused on building our program as one instead of pitting them against one another,” said Bolton. “Our focus is AWSL play, and we didn’t need any more injuries that would negatively impact the rest of league play.”
GCU Purple plays again on Friday, Oct. 4 hosting Arizona State University at 7 pm at Colter Fields, then against the University of Arizona Sunday, Oct. 6 at 3 pm on Prescott Field.
GCU White will host ASU at 10 am Saturday, Oct. 5 at Prescott Field. Admission to all home matches is FREE.