By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Lopes’ head coach Ben Canfield and the Grand Canyon University Bowling team want this one.
The Lopes will make their long-awaited 2019-20 season debut Oct. 18 with a crosstown matchup against Arizona State University in the 5th Annual Grudge Match at GCU’s Thunder Alley. This year’s edition of the match carries some extra weight as GCU is looking to take the series lead after pulling off a 9-8 victory in a rolloff last season to even the record between the two schools at 2-2.
“The Grudge Match with ASU is always a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to kick off the season,” said Canfield, who bowled for the Sun Devils before graduating in 2015. “With the series being tied up, it brings a little more pressure and excitement to it this year.”
GCU’s victory over ASU in last year’s showdown seemed to be a tone setter for the program. Both the men’s and women’s bowling teams went on to finish the 2018-19 season ranked in the Top 10 of the Club Team Bowling Coaches Association rankings, with the men capturing their first-ever Intercollegiate Team National Championships berth.
The Lopes are hoping to replicate the same success this year, and will lean on the skill and leadership of Josh Mabry and Kyle Gilbert, the men’s team captains.
“It’s always good to compete against a high-quality team like ASU,” said Mabry, the lone senior on the men’s team. “It would be nice to win it and start the year with some good momentum.”
With the Grudge Match just days away, Mabry added that he’s excited to get the season going, and wants to enjoy every moment of his final campaign in the GCU purple and white.
“Honestly, I’m just excited to get back out there and compete with my teammates,” Mabry said. “It would be nice to have those bragging rights over them (ASU), but I don’t think there’s any extra pressure added this year.”
The 5th Annual Grudge Match is free to attend and begins at 4 pm.
Interested in joining GCU Club Bowling? Visit the team page to learn more!