Vashaun Newman

UTSA’s second-half surge not enough in 2-0 loss at Grand Canyon

PHOENIX – A goal in each half for Grand Canyon (3-1-1) proved to be enough to topple the visiting UTSA soccer team (3-2) on Thursday night in Phoenix in a game that ended in limited visibility and both teams fighting the elements late in the second half. The Lopes pulled out a 2-0 win at home, despite a notably aggressive second half from the Roadrunners.

The Lopes gained the upper hand early and often in the first half, holding up a 73-27 possession advantage and outshooting the Roadrunners 10-2. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Mia Krusinski was getting a workout between the pipes, registering four of her six saves in the opening half.

Despite the constant pressure, UTSA held its own until the 27th minute, when a Grand Canyon drive into the attacking third allowed Destinee Duran-Wise the chance to find reigning WAC Player of the Week Gianna Gourley in front of the box for the score, into the left corner of the net on the Lopes' seventh shot of the half.

Trailing 1-0 at the break, UTSA turned the tables with an aggressive momentum shift in the second half, quickly taking up a bigger portion of possessions.

Despite the relentless Lopes, it looked like the Roadrunner defense just might be set to hold off further harm from Grand Canyon, after Krusinski shut down Gourley with a one-handed penalty kick save and added another stop just 32 second late. However, Gourley proved her mettle as one of the top goal-scorers, slipping the defense and Krusinski for an open-goal score in the 55th minute, at least temporarily tying for the national lead in goals.

As the Roadrunners battled back from the 2-0 deficit, a second opponent entered the competition, as a heavy dust storm rolled in near the 72nd minute and blanketed the pitch with near-zero-visibility haze and flying debris for the remainder of the game. The severe conditions didn’t deter the Roadrunners, who fired off six shots during that stretch and outshot the Lopes 9-3 in the second half.

In addition to the challenging late-game conditions, the Lopes and Roadrunners played an extremely physical game, combining for 21 total fouls and four yellow cards issued.

Pacing the offense, Sasjah Dade, Sabrina Hillyer and Maddie Reynolds each put up two shots apiece for the Roadrunners in the loss. Krusinski went the entire 90 minutes in goal and logged six saves.

GCU: Gianna Gourley (27’), Gianna Gourley (55’)

Quoting Coach Derek Pittman

"Really proud of our players’ character and response in the second half! GCU is a very talented team and we struggled in disrupting them in the first half. Unfortunately, two key errors led to their goals and those are things we can fix. We will take the good things and bounce back on Sunday at Cal Baptist."

Up Next

The two-game road swing continues into the weekend and on to Riverside, California for the first program trip to Cal Baptist on Sunday (Sept. 3). The Lancers moved to 3-1 on Thursday night, walloping UTEP, 6-0. In their lone prior meeting, UTSA downed CBU in San Antonio in 2021, 3-0.


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