PHOENIX, Ariz. --- The trick was played last Thursday, but there were only treats tonight.
Just three days removed from its most gut-wrenching loss of the season in double-overtime, California Baptist University proved its mettle, rebounded and took one step closer to its first-ever Pacific West Conference title with a huge 1-0 victory at Grand Canyon on Halloween night.
The win puts the Lancers back into first place in the PacWest at 12-5 overall, 9-2 (27 points). They can win the PacWest title with a win over Dixie State at home Saturday in the final regular-season game of the season.
"This was a good result on the road against a good team, and it wasn't an easy game," said CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden. "We had to put together an intelligent performance and I was proud of the guys in that they learned the lesson from the other day. As a result, we put ourselves in a position to win the league on the last day, which was one of our goals."
The Antelopes, who were in first place heading into tonight's game and are looking for their fifth PacWest title in six years, drop into third at 12-4-1, 8-2-1 (25 points).
Not only did the loss snap the Antelopes' five-game winning streak (seven straight in PacWest action) but it was the first time they were shutout in that span, dating back to Oct. 8.
It is their first PacWest shutout since Sept. 17, a conference-opening 1-0 loss to Dixie State. GCU leads the PacWest in scoring but were kept off the board by a stellar defensive effort from the Lancers.
"They really got after it towards the end sending bodies forward, and we were able to weather that," said Jorden. "They pressed really hard, but we didn't have a breakdown and didn't allow a chance for them to get the type of goal they got the other day. It was a good team defensive effort."
As a result, Michael Salazar's ninth goal of the season in the 39th minute was all the Lancers needed. Cole Schmit took the initial shot, but it rebounded back to Salazar, who tucked the game-winner away into the bottom right corner for what turned out to be the game's only goal.
The Antelopes outshot the Lancers 20-7, including a 10-2 margin in the second half. However, just six of GCU's 20 shots were on frame as the Lancers kept most of the danger away.
"We did a good job maintaining our shape and making them go to places that weren't necessarily their first option," said Jorden. "The possession was much closer to 50-50 tonight as opposed to the other day when we had the majority of it. We managed the game well, and even though we were outshot we still had some good chances."
Joey Pacheco made six saves for his fifth shutout of the season.