INDIANAPOLIS - After winning the 2018 WAC Men's Soccer Tournament, the Grand Canyon Lopes will head west to UC Irvine to open the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The winner of Thursday's first round match will head north to take on ninth-seeded Stanford this weekend.
The Lopes (12-8-0) earned shutout wins over Utah Valley, Air Force and San José State to earn the WAC's automatic selection to the national tournament. GCU is led offensively by three goals and three assists from Marco Afonso. Their real strength comes in goal as redshirt freshman George Tasouris posted three-straight shutouts in the WAC tournament en route to MVP honors. He has a 0.78 goals against average and .867 save percentage with nine shutouts this season.
UC Irvine comes into the national tournament with a record of 11-5-3, having won the Big West regular season title before falling in PKs to UC Davis in the semifinal round of the Big West Tournament. Ivan Canales leads the Anteaters offense with 10 goals and five assists in 19 matches played. Greg Patenaude has seen the majority of time in net, posting a 1.01 goals against average with a .770 save percetnage in 1775 minutes played.
Thursday's match is set for 7 p.m. PT at Anteater Stadium in Irvine, Calif.