'Lopes defeat Bakersfield in season finale - CBS 5 - KPHO

'Lopes defeat Bakersfield in season finale

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The Grand Canyon University women's soccer team (5-12-1, 4-7-1) closed out their inaugural season as members of the Western Athletic Conference with a 1-0 win over CSU Bakersfield (4-12-1, 3-6-1) at the Main Soccer Field in Bakersfield, Calif. The game marked the final contest for the Antelopes in 2013.

It was the eighth game decided by one goal for GCU this season, including their seventh with a 1-0 finish.

"I am exceptionally proud of the girls today," said head coach Stevie Gill. "It was our 14th game on the road, and we are feeling pretty beat up and injured, but we found a way to win. It has been a trying season for everyone involved, so it is great to end on a positive note."

The 'Lopes used a strong offensive push in the second half, where they outshot the Roadrunners 7-3, to score the game's lone goal. Of their nine total attempts, GCU put six on target.

Both teams played strong defense to open the game, as the first shot was not taken until over 22 minutes had ticked off the clock. That trend carried through the full 45 minutes, as the Roadrunners narrowly outshot the 'Lopes 5-2, with both of GCU's attempts on target as Bakersfield keeper Tori Ornela picked up two stops. GCU goalkeeper Cat Lena also had two saves in the first half as the squads were locked in a scoreless tie.

The 'Lopes came out carrying the offensive possession in the second half, taking three shots in the first 10 minutes before Taylor Layton found the back of the net for her second goal of the season in the 58th minute. She was assisted by Jessica Valadez off a direct kick and scored from about 10 yards out to record her first game-winner.

GCU's defense held the Roadrunners without a shot for the opening 15 minutes of the second half and in total, surrendered just three attempts to Bakersfield in the half.

Offensively for the 'Lopes, Valadez, Veronica Nikas, and Rakeisha Sealey each recorded two shots in the contest, as Sealey put both of her attempts on goal.

The win puts the 'Lopes in fourth place in the conference, with the six other squads set to compete next weekend to end the regular season and their respective 12-game conference slates. GCU was originally picked to finish seventh prior to the season and are not eligible to compete in postseason play as they are in their first of a four-year transitional period.

"We will now hit the road on the recruiting trail in order to strengthen the squad for next year," added Gill. "We want to thank our seniors for their hard work and dedication to the program and wish them the best of luck in the future."

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