It was like a story straight out of a Hollywood movie. Maybe more like the flick, “Rudy”, about Notre Dame football.
This game was in California, but in Riverside, not Tinsel Town. And the main character played on the Grand Canyon University men’s soccer team.
Kevin Freitas is a junior midfielder for the Antelopes who, until last Thursday, had played just 87 minutes of the 16 regular-season games and two exhibition matches.
But the young man from Texas, who transferred in to Grand Canyon from Phoenix College, scored both goals in a double-overtime thriller to help propel the ‘Lopes into first place in the Pacific West Conference.
Freitas didn’t enter the game until the 58:45 mark, when Cal Baptist was leading 1-0. Just 68 seconds later, he punched in the tying goal from in front of the net.
And at 101:57 he headed the ball past the far post for the storybook double-overtime win. Mitchell Garcia took the corner kick that led to Freitas’ goal.
Adam Garcia, the senior goalkeeper from Westview High School in Avondale, took care of his end of the win, making two saves to raise his season record to 12-3-1, with four shutouts.
With two games left in the regular season, GCU has a good chance of fulfilling the pre-season polls which projected a first-place conference finish for the ‘Lopes. It would be the school’s fifth conference championship in the six-year history of men’s soccer in the conference.
The ‘Lopes finished the 2010 season ranked No. 2 in the West Region and No. 11 in the nation.
They entered this season with a roster that included three players who had been named to the 2011 Pre-season All-PacWest team. That trio includes senior defender Nick Sykes and a couple of senior midfielders, Mitchell Garcia and Cordero Young. Garcia is a local product, a graduate of Agua Fria High School in Avondale who came up through Phoenix College, where he was a first-team All-ACCAC selection.
Last year’s squad finished 15-3-2 overall, which was the third-most wins in school history. This team can get to 14 wins in the regular season by defeating Cal Baptist again tonight and then winning Thursday when they play Dixie State.
They will play Cal Baptist at home, but will have to close out on the road in St. George, Utah.
(Photo: GCU Athletics)