By David Carter/GCU Staff
Rarely does the past meet the present.
But this was the case as the Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse team hosted its annual alumni game Friday night at Prescott Field on the GCU campus in a friendly showdown.
This year’s squad turned a 4-2 lead after the first period into a commanding 10-3 halftime lead. The 2018-19 squad never let the alumni get the offense moving in breezing to a 16-6 win.
Even though the alumni lost, they impressed Lopes Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Manny Rapkin.
“It is the best alumni team we have ever had,” Rapkin said. “We just played really well. We had five or six All-Americans out on the field for the alumni team, (and) at least another five or ten all-conference players.”
Current players and alumni also commented on what the game and time spent in the program meant for them, including 2017 graduate and 2017 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division I Player of the Year Joe Balestrieri.
“It has been really awesome,” Balestrieri said. “I came here from a D3 school in Maryland, so I did not know what to expect. There is a lot of camaraderie on the team, and I think they have a good shot this year.”
Cam Wengreniuk, a junior attacker on this year’s team, talked about the community surrounding the GCU Men’s Lacrosse program.
“We had so many alumni here that certainly created a legacy here at our school, so it is cool to have them come out,” Wengreniuk said. “It is a super cool community and brotherhood we all belong to.”
Alumnus Lucas de Jong also shared how thankful he was for the support he received from the coaching staff.
“I owe so much to Coach Rapkin and (GCU Men’s Lacrosse Assistant) Coach (Jeffrey) Guy,” de Jong said. “They spent a lot of time investing in me, and I took advantage of the program because of that, and I gained a lot from it. If you are willing to invest in the team, it will definitely pay you back.”
The GCU Men’s Lacrosse team will next play an exhibition against the University of Arizona this Saturday, November 3 at 1 pm on GCU’s campus at Prescott Field. Come out and support your Lopes!