PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Lopes would not be denied. After finishing in fourth place in the regular season, the Grand Canyon University men's soccer team went to the WAC Tournament needing to run the table. They won three games in five days and have made history.
"Our goal for the year was to be the first team that could get in the NCAA Tournament representing GCU," said Schellas Hyndman, Lopes head coach. "This has been a really nice run. The boys have played, probably, to the best of their ability. Very seldom as coaches do we get a group of players that always seem to be in battles and always seem to find ways of winning."
The Lopes secured the WAC tournament title and an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 win over San Jose State in the conference championship game. GCU won all three of their games in the WAC Tournament 1-0, beating Air Force on Friday and Utah Valley on Wednesday in overtime. The Lopes landed back in Phoenix late on Sunday night and they were right back on campus on Monday morning for the selection show.
"I didn't even get a good sleep because I couldn't stop thinking about it," said Alex Radilla, a senior who scored the Lopes only goal in the WAC championship game. "It's awesome. It's a feeling that you cannot describe. And to make history for all these people."
The Lopes watched the selection show on the big screen in the student union. Their name popped up on the screen early in the show.
"I got the chills. It's going to be a lot of fun, playing against other teams and proving that we can hang with these other teams," said Josh Drack, a sophomore from Chandler Hamilton High School. "Growing up in Chandler, I wanted to come to GCU and make history, make GCU big in the country. Now that we're playing in the national tournament, it means everything."
The Lopes will play University of California, Irvine on Thursday night. With a win, defending champion Stanford could be waiting. The GCU men's soccer team has already made history. There could be another chapter to write.