By Sunny Cadwallader
On “Faith and Family Night”, sports faith was tested at the Grand Canyon University men’s soccer game Friday night.
The Lopes hosted the San Jose State Spartans in a Western Athletic Conference battle on Family Weekend.Over 2,900 family, friends and fans were treated to a match that took awhile to build.
Early on, the Spartans looked to be the more threatening of the two teams. Holding their shape well, quicker to the ball, SJSU forced GCU keeper George Tasouris (Sophomore, Cyprus) to make four saves in the first half.
The Spartans kept the pressure on, but it would be the Lopes that struck first.
Goal scorer Justin Rasmussen (Junior, M, Las Vegas) said, “It was a great combination play with Rey (Gaytan) and Austin (Day) on the left wing. Austin played a great ball in the slot at home.”
The Lopes held on to that 1-0 lead well into the second half. They had many fans believing a win was in sight.
Sports faith tested.
In the 84th minute, SJSU finally broke through the staunch GCU defense. Defender Angel Farias made good on his one shot on goal of the night, getting it past Tasouris.
Four minutes later, the Lopes took the lead on a goal by freshman midfielder Hugo Logan.
BUT WAIT! There’s more. More testing of faith, that is.
A final minute PENAL was awarded to the Spartans. Forward Rudy Castro slotted it home to tie it, 2-2.
Golden goal is in effect at NCAA level, but it was not to be for either team through two overtime halves.
When the final whistle blew, several players on both teams collapsed to the ground. Maximum output was required for this match.
“We gave everything we had,” said GCU head coach Schellas Hyndman, a legend from his days guiding FC Dallas of Major League Soccer. “There were a number of players that had to come off the field just due to fatigue. I thought they really played well. They’re really a talented team and they put us back on our heels.”
Both teams sit in the middle of the WAC standings. GCU hosts Seattle University on Sunday night. SJSU heads to UNLV.
- Nice, family atmosphere at the game. Children from nearby Granada Elementary sang the national anthem. Beautiful.
- Plenty of young soccer players had the opportunity to shoot on goal during the half. The smiles were endless as they came off the field.
- And, a very tasty tailgate on Family Weekend. Pizza, quesadillas, burritos and more. Sign-up was required for those attending as part of family weekend, but the food was free.
- The Havocs were there making their presence known. Banging drums, cheering throughout and making sure the Spartans goalie heard them. 🙂
- Side: Very impressed with Rey Gaytan (Junior, F, Phoenix). Pesky isn’t the right word to describe him, but he gave SJSU right midfielders and defenders fits most of the night.
- GCU held a post-game player autograph session for fans. A good move to build rapport with young fans who will hopefully come back again.