The No. 25 Grand Canyon men’s soccer team is set to play against San Jose State in the WAC Tournament semifinal match held at GCU Stadium.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
ALL-WAC LOPES: Several Lopes took home postseason All-WAC awards, highlighted by senior defender Esai Easley being named WAC Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday. The WAC regular-season champions landed two players on the first team, four on the second team and two on the freshman team. Joining Easley on the All-WAC first team is junior forward Shaun-Chris Joash. On the second team, the WAC picked junior forward Cameron Weller, fifth-year midfielder Justin Rasmussen, senior defender Alejandro Fernandez Alcaide and senior defender Miguel Prado. Midfielder Kaden Cameron and goalkeeper Rafael Guerrero earned spots on the WAC All-Freshman Team.
LOPES IN THE POLLS: GCU came in at No. 25 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll, No. 17 in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index, No. 13 in the TopDrawerSoccer Poll and No. 18 in the College Soccer News Poll.
UNDEFEATED AT HOME: The Lopes are 8-0 at GCU Stadium this season and look to continue the undefeated streak on Friday in the semifinal match and win their second-ever WAC Tournament title.
San Jose State defeated the Lopes 2-1 earlier this season at Spartan Soccer Complex. The goals were scored by Willy Miranda and Kasper Poulsgaard, while GCU’s lone goal was scored by fifth-year midfielder Tosh Yasuda.
Spartans head coach Simon Tobin won his first WAC Coach of the Year award in his eighth season at SJSU after leading the Spartans to a 7-2-2 WAC record and their fifth WAC Tournament appearance in the last five seasons.
In the WAC postseason awards, three players made the first team and one made the freshman team. All-WAC first team selections include Rudi Castro, Max Allen and Kasper Poulsgaard and Beau Leroux was selected to the WAC All-Freshman team.
On Wednesday’s WAC Tournament opener, San Jose State made a big comeback against Utah Valley after being down 3-1 after 23 minutes of play. The Spartans were able to score two more goals before the end of the first half, making the score 3-3 at halftime. SJSU’s senior midfelder Willy Miranda scored less than 10 minutes into the half, which ended up being the game-winning goal to send the Spartans to the semifinal.
LAST TIME OUT
The Lopes fell to Air Force 2-1 in its regular-season finale on the road at Cadet Soccer Stadium.
Senior midfielder Marios Andreou put GCU in the scoring column first with a header off a free kick byLopes fifth-year midfielder Justin Rasmussen in the 12th minute. It was the first goal of the season for Andreou and the sixth assist for Rasmussen, who entered the night ranked fourth in the WAC for points.
The Falcons (9-7-1, 8-3 WAC) scored the game-tying goal in the 25th minutes and the game remained knotted at 1-1 at halftime.
Air Force pulled ahead in the 66th minute as WAC points leader Tristan Trager netted his 12th goal of the season.
A win over the Spartans sends the Lopes to the WAC Tournament championship match on Sunday at 1 p.m. at GCU Stadium.