Lopes go undefeated to take home Arizona Regional championship title
By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff
The Lopes defend their title yet again.
The Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Volleyball team continue to sweep teams and come out with wins. After bringing home the Mountain West Volleyball Conference title last season, the defending national champs laid claim that they are more than prepared to claim the title once again as they clinched a fourth straight Arizona Regional title in Flagstaff on February 8.
“You go into practice and they don’t want to mess around,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Kristine Naber. “We are ready to step on the court and get better. Winning last year helps, but the culture of the program is so solid.”
Last weekend, the Lopes kicked off the first half of the Arizona Regional tournament in Phoenix, where they concluded the finals in Flagstaff. The Lopes had an undefeated run (8-0) in the Arizona Regional, only dropping two sets (one set in Flagstaff and one set in Phoenix) against Arizona State University.
“Losing sets isn’t a bad thing,” said Naber. “I don’t want to go into the MWVC or nationals winning everything. It’s great that we’re 8-0, but it’s okay to lose because it exposes our weaknesses. When you expose weaknesses, then you realize we still have work to do.”
Despite being down a regular starter, GCU was able to pull together through close sets.
“Our girls really stepped into their roles,” said Naber. “If anything, that shows depth. When there is a struggle on the team, we have so much depth that we can switch it up and be versatile.”
Although the Lopes went 8-0, they will be working just as hard as ever in the next couple of weeks.
“It’s natural that if you’re consistently winning, you have a target on your back,” said Naber. “Going into the MWVC in a couple of weeks, we’re ranked first. We have to play well and be solid in every aspect of our game.”
Consistency and commitment has been a key factor to the team’s success this season.
“These girls make my job easy,” said Naber. “Club sports is traditionally known for being flexible, but the mindset of being fully committed to practice and the team has built our success. They go in, and want to work hard.”
The Lopes’ strong work ethic has resulted into wins and kept their focus on Nationals in Kansas City in April.
“It is fast-faced drills, staying focused, and preparation in practice will get us ready,” said Naber. “Granted, we only practice twice a week, but as soon as practice starts, we give it our all.”
GCU looks to defend their MWVC title for a fourth consecutive year on February 28 at the MWVC Conference Championship in Colorado Springs, Colorado.