The Grand Canyon University men's soccer team (2-10-1, 1-5-0) wrapped up their four-game road swing with a 3-0 loss at Western Athletic Conference leader Seattle U (6-8-3, 5-0-2) today on Championship Field in Seattle, Wash.
"This game was similar to Friday night (at San Jose State)," said head coach Petar Draksin. "We had a very good first half despite the mistake that allowed them to score. That being said, we still played very well in those first 45 minutes. The game-changer was giving up that goal too early in the second half. So similar to Friday, we found ourselves pushing in the final 25 minutes to get a goal, and that ultimately allowed them to score that last goal."
The game was an offensive battle, as the Redhawks recorded 19 shots compared to 16 for the Antelopes. GCU put eight of their shots on target, but conference saves leader Jack Feener stopped each of those attempts.
The squads were even with seven shots apiece to open the game before Seattle broke through first, finding the back of the net in the 41st minute. Austin Sweeney assisted Jeff Rose on the right side, who kicked the ball over a diving Joshua Zehring to hand the Redhawks a 1-0 advantage with just over four minutes remaining in the first half.
Seattle narrowly led GCU in shot attempts over the first 45 minutes, 10-8, although the 'Lopes carried the advantage with four shots on goal.
The Redhawks extended their lead to 2-0 in the 53rd minute when Hamza Haddadi picked up the score on assists from Jose Merlo and Cameron Rohani from the far left side. The goal came on the first shot attempt for either team in the second half. Seattle kept the 'Lopes busy on defense, taking five shots in the first 20 minutes of the half, as Zehring collected three saves in that time.
The teams traded shots for the next 25 minutes before Seattle again scored in the 84th minute. Haddadi recorded his second goal of the game, a long shot from the right side of the box, on an assist from Justice Duerksen.
That would end the scoring threat for either side, as they combined for just two shots over the final six minutes of the game.
"I thought that the last 15-20 minutes, the game was very evenly played," added Draksin. "We had opportunities throughout, but the difference was that we were unable to score. This is hard on us. And unfortunately, losing can become a habit, but we have to break that habit. Sometimes things don't go your way and it has felt like that the entire year."
Offensively, Alberto Sanchez Garcia led GCU with five shots, three of which were on target. Kyle Ciliento added two shots on goal for the 'Lopes.
The 'Lopes will next be back in Phoenix for a pair of games, beginning with a 7 p.m. contest against CSU Bakersfield on GCU Soccer Field on Nov. 1. Fans can follow all of the action via live video and stats by visiting www.gculopes.com.
"We are looking forward to coming home," Drakin said. "We have to play better and get it done at home. These are two big games this weekend against very strong programs in UNLV and Bakersfield. We need to put this game behind us and come alive for this upcoming weekend."
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