By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
If you’re looking for a theme from Monday night, look no further than from Lopes’ Head Coach Manny Rapkin.
“Offense. Offense arrives,” Rapkin said.
Yeah. And the defense was pretty good, too.
Using a focused and patient effort, No. 1 Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse executed their offensive and defensive game plan to near-perfection, shutting down No. 15 Boston College for a 10-1 victory Monday evening at GCU Stadium.
Looking back at Friday night’s 13-6 win over the University of Georgia, Rapkin spoke at length about how his team was not fully prepared in all phases of the game. Many missed opportunities on offense allowed the Bulldogs to stick around. On Monday, a clear difference in mental fight put the Lopes on top.
“We got mentally tougher on offense,” Rapkin said. “We didn’t settle for mediocre shots. We waited for in-rhythm shots. The kids meant business tonight.”
It was a defensive battle early on as both teams played to a scoreless opening quarter. Each side earned a near three-minute possession on separate occasions that ended in quality saves being made by GCU goaltender Brad Hookom and BC goaltender Richard O’Keeffe.
Defense continued into the second, but the offense began showing their strength – and it also provided the turning point at the end of the half. Boston College picked up a ground ball with 20 seconds remaining, but an errant pass into the GCU zone was picked up by the Lopes’ Jack Lamey with 10 seconds left and immediately rushed up field. Lamey dished it off to Cam Wengreniuk who, without hesitation, fired a shot to the back of the net just as time expired. The Lopes bench erupted to send GCU into the locker room with a 3-1 lead.
Using that momentum for the second half, the Lopes wasted no time. Cian Peterson got the scoring started two minutes in, running to in front of the goal with a turn-around jump shot for a 4-1 lead. Peterson found the net again two minutes later, working from down low and twisting around his defender to lift the ball top shelf. Lamey joined the party minutes later as he picked up a ground ball at midfield and started a fast break – passing off to Kyle Crews, who handed off to Cody Clark, who went right back to Lamey who found space in the middle of the box to bounce in a goal for a 6-1 lead.
GCU wasn’t finished, however. Crews netted an overhand shot one minute after Lamey’s goal, then Clark capped the quarter with two goals of his own in the final three minutes – the latter goal coming with the Lopes a man up.
A close, defensive game at the half quickly turned into a 9-1 rout after the third quarter – thanks in large part to everyone buying in.
“Whole team effort,” Rapkin said. “Boston College plays good, fundamental defense, and you have to wear out teams like that. We got the ball to the best spots where we can be successful.”
Wengreniuk and Peterson each tallied hat tricks and opened the scoring in the second quarter for a 2-0 lead. Wengreniuk completed the three-goal night with the final goal at 9:31 of the fourth quarter. With Peterson’s three goals on the night, both him and Wengreniuk each finished the homestand with five goals.
The Eagles’ lone goal came from Gerard Quinn with 9:43 left in the second.
This was Boston College’s third game in four days in their three-game Arizona road trip. The Eagles had already beaten No. 6 Arizona State University, 12-11, and the University of Arizona, 13-8. Facing a potentially potent offense, the Lopes’ defense operated from the start – highlighted by clearing a near three-minute BC possession in the first quarter, and holding the Eagles to one shot in the third.
Brad Hookom did his part in net by totaling eight saves.
“[Boston College] never got into a rhythm,” Rapkin said. “Our defensive scheme tonight was great. The shots we gave up were the ones we wanted to give up.”
The Lopes now head out on the road this Saturday for a southern California clash at San Diego State University at 1 pm Arizona time. The Lopes’ next home matchup happens at Prescott Field on the GCU campus on Saturday, March 17, when they’ll host Sonoma State University in a 2 pm faceoff. Admission is FREE.