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Gutierrez caps @UNCBearsSoccer comeback

Published: September 10, 2018

Grand Canyon came out on the attack and got on the scoreboard first, however, UNC wouldn't allow the Antelopes to do much more attacking throughout the match. Taylor Bray tied the match midway through the opening period and Mariel Gutierrez weaved her way through the middle of the field making numerous GCU players miss in the process and beat Abby Burton for what turned out to be the game-winning goal in a Bears 2-1 victory.

"The ball bounced out and I just received it and took a couple players to the left and shot it with my left and it went right under the keeper's hands," said Gutierrez. 

Gutierrez led the Bears last season with nine goals, Friday night was her third goal in three games after not finding the back of the net in the first three matches of the season.

"We have tried to move her a little closer to the goal," said UNC head coach Tim Barrera. "Even tonight she played some upfront, but when she scored the goal she was coming out of the midfield. With her it's more of a philosophical thing, when she plays a little bit higher she gets more balls and can take players on. She is definitely feeling confident after it was a little rough on her early on." 

Like they have for the previous two matches, UNC was dominating the pace throughout the second half, but to the Lopes credit, they were keeping the Bears off the scoreboard until No. 10 broke through.

"I have just started to simplify my game. During the beginning of the season, I was complicating things a little too much and I have been working hard on playing a little quicker and simpler," Gutierrez said.

While Gutierrez got the winner, it was Taylor Bray who got the Bears even midway through the first half when she scored off the rebound. 

"We knew if we kept chipping away we could get back in the game. I thought going into the second half after we tied it up we would be in really good shape," Barrera said.
The comeback wasn't gifted to the Bears, playing their fourth match in eight days against a team that hadn't been on the field in five days and had only played one match this month. UNC fought through the fatigue and did what they have done so well during this stretch, dominate the flow of the match.

"We didn't get off to the best start, but we went into the locker room and were pumping each other up," said Erica Estes. "We showed that we are there for each other. Four games in eight days is tough, it's not something we are used to. But to push through those games and come away with three wins it's huge for us."

With this stretch of matches behind them, UNC will get some rest. They close out their three-match homestand Thursday when they host SMU.

 
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