The seventh-ranked Grand Canyon University men’s soccer team lost to second-ranked Simon Fraser, 2-1, in the West Region Championships tonight on the GCU Soccer Field. The Antelopes finished the 2012 season with a 15-3-2 overall record, while The Clan improved to 18-1-1.
“I thought they were the better team in the first half,” said head coach Petar Draksin. “When it came to halftime, we tried some new things and I think we were the better team in the second half. Unfortunately, in this game, sometimes things don’t work in your favor.”
GCU narrowly outshot SFU, 14-13, but The Clan placed six shots on goal compared to four for the ‘Lopes.
GCU found themselves on the defensive in the first half, as they were outshot 9-2. Neither team was able to find the back of the net until Matt Besuschko broke the scoreless tie on an assist from the right corner in the 41st
Goalkeeper Joshua Zehring
made three great saves in the first 45 minutes as The Clan had four total shots on goal and finished with four on the night.
“Josh stepped up and got the job done this season and he is the reason we are here,” Draksin said. “He made some incredible saves and is a huge part of how we won the conference championship. Josh sacrificed a lot for us this program.”
“I put a lot of time in this summer and it paid off,” said Zehring. “Right now it is hard, but I will get back after it and remember this feeling.”
scored the equalizer on a penalty kick in the 65th
minute after being fouled inside the box. GCU then carried the offensive momentum for the next 20 minutes before Carlo Basso scored the game-winner for SFU in the 85th
minute. The ‘Lopes would take two more shots before the final buzzer rang, putting an end to their outstanding season.
“In his two years here, Saeed kept our program alive,” said Draksin. “We are going to miss him, he is a special player. We have to recover and find another Saeed because he is a great young man and soccer player.”
“I can’t say enough about our young men, they had an outstanding year,” added Draksin. “I totally believe that whoever won this game would win the national championship and I still believe that. The guys played their hearts for us this entire season.”
Simon Fraser will play Incarnate Word on Saturday on the GCU Soccer Field at 7 p.m.as part of the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Elite Eight. Incarnate Word, the third seed in the South Central Region, defeated top-seeded and third-ranked Regis, 1-0, in the first game today. The winner will then travel to Evans, Georgia for the semi-finals and championships, scheduled for Nov. 29 and Dec. 1.
SFU 2, GCU 1
Full NCAA Bracket