GCNP — It’s only September and the Grand Canyon soccer team finds itself in a situation where they must put some wins together.
The Phantoms dropped games to Sedona Red Rock, 5-3, and Camp Verde, 4-1, last week.
Grand Canyon had offensive problems against Saturday in a loss to Camp Verde. The Phantoms will try to pick it up this week against Chino Valley.
“The season’s a third over, but we play everybody again,” said Phantoms coach Ken Olsen, whose team is now 1-3 in the region with a match against highly-regarded Chino Valley coming Saturday. “I really don’t think we’re playing our game. I think we can play better.”
The Scorpions came to Grand Canyon Friday and escape with a two-goal win. The Phantoms usually give Sedona all it can handle in soccer.
The game was tied 1-1 at halftime before Sedona pulled away in the second half.
Carlos Padilla, Ryan Maloney and Jose Diaz-Gonzalez scored goals for the Phantoms.
On Saturday, Grand Canyon gave Camp Verde a tough match. The Cowboys and Phantoms were deadlocked in a scoreless tie in the first half.
There were few shots on goal, although Camp Verde did have opportunities to score on several corner kicks. The Cowboys’ best chance at scoring came on an exceptional setup with a Camp Verde player heading the ball toward the goal. But it hit the side bar to keep the game scoreless.
In the second half, Camp Verde took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Josh Ortega, whose shot hit the upper righthand corner of the net.
The Cowboys then went up 2-0 on a penalty shot from about 25 yards out. From there, the roof fell in on the Phantoms. Ortega scored two more goals for the hat trick.
Ortega’s second goal was allowed despite Grand Canyon coaches’ calls for an off-sides penalty. And Ortega scored again seconds later for the 4-0 lead.
Grand Canyon avoided the shutout by finding the net on a powerful shot by Chas Iacampo. Mitchell Walker had an assist on the play.
Iacampo’s shot hit the hands of the Camp Verde goalie, but was hard enough to skid through to the net.
“I thought we played a good first half but there was kind of a letdown in the second half,” Olsen said. “I look at Camp Verde as one of the best teams in the division.”
Nando Lucero, Camp Verde coach, said his team struggled offensively against the Phantom defense.
“Offensively, we couldn’t finish,” he said. “I think we moved the ball well, getting it into the middle, but we’ve got to finish.”
Camp Verde scored four times on its 25 shots on goal.
Grand Canyon fall to 1-3 in the region, 3-5 overall. The Phantoms will host Chino Valley Saturday afternoon.
The team then steps outside the region for a matchup with Oak Creek Ranch. The Phantoms will play four of its last five region matches on the road.
In the region, Sedona leads the region with a 3-0 record. Chino Valley sits in second place with a 2-0-1 record, the tie coming against Ash Fork. Camp Verde is third (2-1) and Ash Fork fourth (1-1-1).