The rainy week got to the Gauchos as the UCSB men’s lacrosse team suffered its first loss of the season to Grand Canyon University with a final score of 9-7.
The Gauchos entered the game undefeated with a 1-0 division record and 6-0 overall mark. On the other hand, the GCU Antelopes came into the game with less to lose, with a 0-0 division play record and 1-2 overall record.
UCSB came out slow against the ’Lopes in the first quarter with what senior long-stick midfielder and captain Alex Mainthow called being “sloppy,” with turnovers, missed shots and slow ground ball retrievals. The lack of aggression in opening plays put the Gauchos in a 1-3 hole that was difficult to recover from due to the unrelenting intensity of the ’Lopes.
“We need to play hard right out of the gate,” senior midfielder and captain Ryan Walsh said. “We have kind of been coasting through practice ever since we’ve been undefeated. It really comes down to how we play in practice and striving to get better.”
The high contact that lacrosse is known for was apparent to all at the pitch, when the heightened physicality from both sides of the field emerged as the two teams adjusted to the other’s style of play. Through the second quarter, UCSB came back and tied the game going into half time 4-4 with three quick goals, putting the ’Lopes on their heels and forcing turnovers to keep possession of the ball.
However, as both teams regrouped at the end of the first half, the ’Lopes reentered the game with the intensity that they began with, by scoring three goals towards the end of the third quarter while holding the Gauchos to no more goals scored.
“The last three of four games, we’ve come out pretty slow and let the other team do what they’re good at after we’ve scouted them all week and try to shut that down,” Walsh said. “But, today we didn’t really do that.”
Among the bright spots in the Gaucho line-up yesterday was senior goalkeeper and captain Conrad Carlson, whose long run across the field into Lopes territory during the fourth quarter brightened UCSB spirits and whose blocks kept the Gauchos in the game.
During the fourth quarter, the Gauchos allowed two more GCU goals and attempted to close the gap in the final minutes of the game with two quick returning goals, ending with a final score of 7-9.
Next week, however, will be UCSB’s second divisional play game of the season against Loyola Marymount.
“Next week’s game is a big one and the only thing you can really control is how you play in division games,” Mainthow said. “If we win that one it’s big for us because we want to go undefeated in division and make it to the National Championship.”
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.