In their seventh game decided by one goal, the Grand Canyon University women's soccer team (4-11-1, 3-6-1) fell 1-0 to Kansas City (8-7-1, 5-3-0) in a hard-fought contest today on GCU Soccer Field in Phoenix, Ariz. The loss comes on the heels of back-to-back wins for the Antelopes, who had shutout their previous two opponents and have allowed just one goal in their past three games.
Prior to kickoff, GCU honored its six seniors (Samantha Bush, Jessica Fitzgerald, Cat Lena, Veronica Nikas, Kailey Thorpe, and Cierra Valdez) for their hard work and dedication to the program.
The 'Roos held the advantage in shots, 19-11, but GCU came on strong in the second half, putting pressure on Kansas City's defense with eight shots, half of which were on target.
"It was one of those days when we came out totally flat in the first half," said head coach Stevie Gill. "We picked things up in the second half and created multiple chances to score including an open net header in the last two minutes of the game that would have tied things up. In order to win games at this level, we need to come prepared to play for the full 90 minutes, period."
Kansas City broke the scoreless tie in the ninth minute when Alyssa Elver found the back of the net on an assist from the left side off the foot of Emily Herndon. Elver's fourth goal of the season sailed just past GCU goalkeeper Cat Lena's outstretched arms.
The 'Roos carried the offensive momentum for much of the first half, outshooting GCU by a margin of 12-3. Kansas City put three of those on target as Lena picked up three saves in the first 45 minutes.
GCU came out firing in the second half, taking five shots in the first 20 minutes while allowing just two to Kansas City in that same time frame.
The 'Lopes kept the ball on Kansas City's half of the field for much of the half, while Lena made sure it remained a one-goal game as she finished with six saves in the contest, the ninth time this season she has recorded at least five stops.
GCU looked the equalize the score in the game's final two minutes, with a Cassie Beckwith shot that was saved by 'Roos keeper Nina Tzianos and a Rakeisha Sealey header that sailed just wide of the goal.
Beckwith finished with five shot attempts, two of which were on goal, to lead the 'Lopes offense.
"Kansas City is a good team and it was a battle throughout the game," added Gill." I thought Cassie worked tirelessly up front but had little support today from our midfield by way of possession and good through balls in behind the back four."
The 'Lopes will now hit the road for their final two games of the 2013 season, beginning with a 6 p.m. (Arizona time) contest at Utah Valley on Friday, Oct. 25. Fans can follow the action by visiting www.gculopes.com.
"We will now focus on our last two games of the season in Salt Lake City and Bakersfield and look to get a positive result by increasing our work rate from the first whistle of the game."
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