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Football

Lopes take 1st-place standing to San Jose State

26 Th11 2021 | 06:39

Saturday, Oct. 16 | 7 p.m. | San Jose, Calif.
No. 25 Grand Canyon
Lopes

(10-1, 5-0 WAC)
at San Jose State
Spartans
(5-5-2, 3-1-1 WAC)
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Match Notes

The No. 25 Grand Canyon men’s soccer team heads to San Jose, California, for a WAC matchup against the Spartans of San Jose State. The Lopes look to continue their winning streak and stay undefeated in conference play.

THREE THINGS TO KNOW

  1. LOPES IN THE POLLS: The Lopes checked in at No. 25 in this week’s United Soccer Coaches Poll, No. 10 in the TopDrawer Soccer Poll, No. 16 in the College Soccer News Poll and No. 8 in the first NCAA Ratings Percentage Index.
  2. NATIONAL RECOGNITION: On three occasions, GCU has had players recognized nationally for strong performances. Lopes senior defender Esai Easley was selected to the College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer national teams of the week on Sept. 14. Fifth-year midfielder Marco Afonso earned a spot on the College Soccer News national team of the week on Sept. 20. Junior forward Cameron Weller was named to the College Soccer News and TopDrawerSoccer national teams of the week on Oct. 11.
  3. TOP-25 STATS: GCU ranks third nationally in winning percentage (.909), ninth in goal differential (+19), 11th in goals per game (2.55), 14th in total goals (28), 12th in save percentage (.827), 14th in points per game (7.18), 17th in shots per game (15.73) and 22nd in total points (79).

SCOUTING

  • The Spartans (5-5-2, 3-1-1 WAC) are coached by Simon Tobin, who is in his eighth season with San Jose State and 35th overall.
  • Willy Miranda leads the team with four goals and 11 points. He is tied for the lead in assists (three) with Max Allen, Omar Lemus and Finlay Wood.
  • San Jose State sits in third in the WAC standings behind GCU and Air Force.
  • The Spartans are tied for first in the conference with four shutouts, matching GCU and Seattle U.
  • Goalkeeper David Sweeney is coming off of back-to-back WAC Defensive Player of the Week awards and has three shutouts on the season.

LAST WEEK

GCU vs. Incarnate Word

The Lopes broke the Division I-era scoring record in the 6-0 win over Incarnate Word with each goal scored by a different Lope. It was the most goals since Oct. 25, 2012, when the No. 8 Lopes beat Point Loma 7-3 in the Division II era. It’s also the biggest win margin for GCU since beating Hawaii Hilo 9-0 on Oct. 1, 2011.

The first goal of the evening came in the 17th minute when fifth-year midfielder Justin Rasmussen headed the ball into the goal off the cross from junior forward Cameron Weller.

GCU freshman midfielder Kaden Cameron, who started his second match of the season, scored his first collegiate goal at the 32:30 mark. Junior striker Shaun-Chris Joash earned the assist as he gave the perfect through ball with the outside of his left foot and found Cameron in the attack.

About eight minutes into the second half, sophomore Maximilian Moeller sent a through ball to Joash on the right side of the penalty box, and the left-footed shot went right by the Cardinals goalkeeper, pushing the GCU lead to 3-0. The goal was his fifth goal of the season, tying Rasmussen for the team lead.

In the 65th minute, senior midfielder Alexis Canales scored the first goal of his collegiate career. He attempted twice, with the first shot being saved by the UIW goalkeeper. After deflecting right back towards him, Canales was able to finish the second attempt for the fourth goal of the night.

Fifth-year forward Rey Gaytan continued the GCU scoring frenzy with about five minutes left in regulation. The play was set up by freshman forward Imran Omar. Omar passed the ball to Weller, who found junior forward Alec LaBarge at the top of the six-yard goal box, who then tapped the ball back to Gaytan at the top of the 18-yard penalty box for a one-touch shot and goal in the upper-right corner.

The final goal for the Lopes came in the 87th minute from Weller. The junior forward beat the Cardinal defender down the right sideline, then cut the ball inside and scorched the ball perfectly over the UIW goalkeeper into the upper-left corner of the goal.

GCU vs. UT Rio Grande Valley

The Lopes moved to 5-0 in conference play and won its eighth consecutive match after defeating UTRGV 5-1 at GCU Stadium.

GCU’s Cameron Weller outscored his collegiate career on Sunday night with three unassisted goals. The Spokane, Washington, product scored in his 2019 GCU debut, but only played two more games that season and logged just 51 minutes last season.

The score remained tight at 3-1 for most of the second half. GCU senior goalkeeper Anthony Munoz kept it that way with two diving saves and a tap-over save in a three-minute span. Munoz has helped keep the back half of the eight-game winning streak going after replacing freshman goalkeeper Rafael Guerrero, who remains hospitalized as he recovers from a serious head injury that he suffered in a Sept. 25 game.

The Lopes put away the win in the 83rd minute with senior defender Alejandro Fernandez Alcaide sending a long ball up the right side for fifth-year forward Rey Gaytan, who scored 2 1/2 minutes after entering the game. Gaytan, a Phoenix native, has made three appearances this season but scored in each of the past two games.

Fernandez Alcaide sent a similar booming pass moments later to sophomore forward Maximilian Moeller, who scored his first goal of the season after his fake dropped a defender on the ground. Until Weller’s work, Moeller had the Lopes’ last hat trick in March.