It was one of Grand Canyon's best outings this season, but the Phantoms still came up short in a key conference soccer matchup with visiting Valley Lutheran Friday.
Filiberto Valerio, right, sends a shot past Valley Lutheran goalie Baggy Samuel on a goal in the second half.
After leading 1-0 at halftime, the Phantoms allowed four second-half goals in a 4-3 loss. Valley Lutheran's Ben Richter scored the game-winner with 14 minutes remaining.
"I think it was the best game we've played all year," Grand Canyon coach Ken Hunter said. "Sometimes in sports, that's the way things go. The team that plays best doesn't always win."
The Phantoms dominated the first half with most of the action played in front of the Valley Lutheran goal. But Grand Canyon could not capitalize on several scoring chances and led just 1-0 at the break.
"In the first half, we played close to perfect," Hunter said. "Their keeper made some nice saves in the first half to keep them in the game. It could've very easily been 3 or 4-0 at halftime."
The Phantoms took a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute on a goal by Tempy Walker. Teammate Jesse Hunter got the assist.
In the second half, Valley Lutheran scored twice in the first three minutes to take the lead. The Phantoms tied the score at 2-2 on a shot by Filiberto Valerio, who received the pass from Miles Hunter.
The Flames went up 3-2 on a perfect play down the middle of the field. Michael Schafer broke free and scored one-on-one vs. the Grand Canyon goalkeeper.
The Phantoms tied the match again in the 72nd minute when Valerio set up Walker, who scored his second goal through congestion in front of the net.
Valley Lutheran's Richter then had the game-winner four minutes later.
Grand Canyon's Miles Hunter just missed tying the match with a header in the closing minutes after receiving a pass from Chas Iacampo. But the shot missed by a few inches.
"I'm proud of the way they played," Coach Hunter said. "Take away a few of our mistakes and it's a win."
On Saturday, the Phantoms stepped out of the conference to take a 5-2 win over Tri-City Prep in Prescott.
Walker had two goals for the second straight game. Miles Hunter, Valerio and Scott Olsen also scored. Miles Hunter had two assists. Brian Skeet and Janna Barth also had assists.
"Tempy played outstanding in both games," Coach Hunter said. "Joe Wilkerson played well and our freshmen have been playing well all season."
Jesse Hunter, Eddie Tobin, David Robinson, Justin Kremer, Matthew Beckerleg and Olsen are six freshmen the coach said have been key contributors.
Grand Canyon (1-2, 5-5) will host Tri-City in a rematch on Friday. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m.
The Phantoms will play at the Diablo Stadium complex in Tempe Saturday against Precision. The match will begin at 2 p.m.
Friday at Grand Canyon
Valley Lutheran 0 4—4
Grand Canyon 1 2—3
First half—1, Grand Canyon, Tempy Walker (Jesse Hunter), 5th minute.
Second half—2, Valley Lutheran, Adam Burke, 44th minute. 3, Valley Lutheran, Burke, 47th minute. 4, Grand Canyon, Filiberto Valerio (Miles Hunter), 49th minute. 5, Valley Lutheran, Michael Schafer, 63rd minute. 6, Grand Canyon, Walker (Valerio), 72nd minute. 7, Valley Lutheran, Ben Richter, 76th minute.
Yellow Card—Valley Lutheran, Cody Bennett-Jones.
Note: Valley Lutheran assists not available.
Saturday at Prescott
Grand Canyon 3 2—5
Tri-City Prep 1 1—2
First half—1, Grand Canyon, Tempy Walker (Miles Hunter), 5th minute. 2, Grand Canyon, M. Hunter (Brian Skeet), 18th minute. 3, Grand Canyon, Filiberto Valerio (Janna Barth), 34th minute). 4, Tri-City, 44th minute.
Second half—5, Grand Canyon, Walker (M. Hunter), 45th minute. 6, Scott Olsen, 54th minute. 7, Tri-City, 67th minute.
Note: Tri-City goals and assists not available.