Grand Canyon University

Lopes take down No. 4 UCLA on the road

Photo - Grand Canyon Athletics

(Los Angeles, CA)  Sophomore goalkeeper Leon Schmidt made five dazzling saves in his Grand Canyon debut and senior forward Alec LaBarge scored his first career brace as the Grand Canyon men’s soccer team upset No. 4 UCLA 3-2 on Monday evening in Los Angeles.

The GCU win marked the highest-ranked opponent that the Lopes have defeated in program history and their first top-10 victory since beating No. 8 Air Force in 2018. The contest was the first between the two schools, as GCU improved to 3-2 against Pac-12 opponents in the past five seasons after also beating No. 22 Oregon State last season. The Lopes moved to 2-2 with the victory.

Schmidt, making his first start as a Lope after transferring from Coastal Carolina, was called to action early as he made two spectacular saves in the fourth minute to keep the score at 0-0. UCLA (3-1) was awarded a penalty kick in the 15th minute after a challenge from inside the box from GCU sophomore defender Clayton Duarte was deemed a foul. Schmidt dived to his left and made an outstretched save to again keep the match scoreless.

Click to see video.

UCLA, which had two yellow cards in three games heading into the contest, earned two in the first half as well as a red card in the 37th minute. The Lopes held a man advantage for the remainder of the contest and led 1-0 into halftime.

Schmidt made four saves in the first 45 minutes while both teams totaled seven shots.

The Bruins found their equalizer in the 58th minute as Andre Ochoa found Constantinos Michaelides in stride on a fastbreak to tie it at 1-1. GCU answered 10 minutes later as freshman forward Zion Long scored his first collegiate goal. Long battled inside the 18-yard box and eventually connected the ball with his right foot and put a shot into the goal toward the lower right side for a 2-1 lead.

Click to see video.

With 10 minutes to go, the Joash-LaBarge connection was found again, as Joash fed LaBarge from right to left and LaBarge used his right foot to trickle the ball into the right side of the goal. The Lopes led 3-1, their first two-goal lead of the season.

Click to see video

UCLA made things interesting with five minutes to spare, when it scored its second goal. The Lopes were assessed two yellow cards in the final five minutes but held on to earn the top-five victory and break a two-game losing skid.

Schmidt totaled five saves in his debut, while the Bruins outshot the Lopes 14-13.

GCU is back in action Friday at home versus Santa Clara at 7:30 p.m.


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