RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- If there were ever a time for California Baptist University to feel as if it got robbed, today is the day.
And this one is a bitter pill to swallow.
The better team on the day, CBU gave up a sloppy equalizer early in the second half and then fell victim in double-overtime, losing 2-1 to Grand Canyon University in a Pacific West Conference match Thursday afternoon.
"That's football," said CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden. "This isn't the type of game where if you're the better team on the day, you always win. It's quite disappointing to concede the type of goals we gave up."
Both Antelope goals were scored by reserve Kevin Freitas. They were his first goals of the season.
The loss snaps the Lancers' five-game winning streak and drops them to 11-5 overall, 8-2 (24 points) PacWest. It also drops them into second place, one point behind Grand Canyon with two games left.
The Antelopes, who have won four of five PacWest titles, improve to 12-3-1, 8-1-1 (25 points), moving into first place.
"It's a great challenge ahead of the guys now, and we still control our own destiny," said Jorden. "We just don't have the cushion anymore."
These two teams play again Monday in Phoenix. The Lancers can still win the PacWest title with a win Monday and a win over Dixie State Nov. 5 at home.
After playing on their heels the first 10 minutes, the Lancers righted the ship and then took control. At one point, the Lancers maintained possession for nearly a full four consecutive minutes. They outshot the Antelopes 10-4 in the first half alone. Three of the 'Lopes four shots came in the first 10 minutes.
"We weren't great out of the gate and survived it, righted the ship and played really, really well the rest of the game," said Jorden.
Just four minutes away from halftime, Jonathan Fausto got the ball on the left side, cut into the middle of the field and then slid it back to where he came from. PacWest Player of the Week Osvaldo Bastida ran onto it and beat Adam Garcia to the far post, giving the Lancers a 1-0 advantage they carried into the intermission.
For Bastida, it was his 25th career goal, moving him with two of tying Jerry Rios for fourth place on the Lancers' career scoring chart. It is his 10th goal this year, a career best.
Even out of the break, the Lancers continued to control play, but in the 60th minute, Grand Canyon put a ball in the box. Joey Pacheco ran onto it but couldn't corral it. After a couple of bounces, Freitas pounced on it and punched it in to tie the game.
It was just the fourth second-half goal the Lancers' have surrendered this year and first since Oct. 1 (7 games).
"They are a good team, and you can't make silly mistakes and hope you're going to get bailed out against a good side," said Jorden.
The goal bolstered the Antelopes and for the next 30 minutes the game's pressure amped up. The Antelopes actually outshot the Lancers 8-7 in the second half but most of those were from way out and either well wide or well over the bar. Pacheco did make a nice diving save on a shot from distance from Oshane Brown in the 87th minute.
The game headed to overtime.
GCU had six of its seven corner kicks in overtime, and in the 102nd minute, the Antelopes finally converted. Mitchell Garcia played a ball short and got it right back from Cordero Young. The lefty then bent a ball to the far post where Freitas rose up and headed it just inside the post for the game-winner.
What happened for the first 90 minutes was a completely different story in overtime as the Antelopes maintained much of the possession, and as a result generated the better chances.
"Across the 90 minutes, we were great, but it's a big ask to go into overtime and we didn't do a good enough job getting the ball and keeping it," said Jorden. "If you can't keep it, you give it back to the opposition and it gets shoved down your throat. We just didn't want to keep it bad enough"