By: Ruby Arani / GCU Staff
A setback is a setup for a comeback.
The Grand Canyon University Women’s Lacrosse team returned from a month-long break to continue conference play with a come-from-behind win over the University of San Diego, 13-12, Saturday night at Prescott Field. It’s the second straight year that the Lopes have posted a league win over the Toreros after cruising to a 17-12 win in San Diego last April. The Lopes evened up their conference mark at 1-1 with the win (they dropped their opener to league-leading San Diego State February 9).
From the start Saturday night, USD took control of the tempo, forcing the Lopes to play catch up throughout the game.
“It was a very slow start to the game,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh. “I think the girls assumed that they were going to blow USD out of the water and didn’t try very hard. Also, with spring break, they had a little bit of time off, so combine that with the month we were already off, and it was harder to be motivated.”
The Toreros took a 9-6 lead into halftime, and the Lopes’ hopes for a comeback took a decided downturn early in the second half when GCU senior Lexi Ortt was ejected with her second yellow card. USD increased their lead to 12-8 midway through the 2nd half, but even with their top scorer, Ortt, on the sideline, the Lopes pulled together to tie the Toreros off a penalty with six minutes left. In the final minutes of a 12-12 deadlock, Lopes’ freshman midfielder Emily Blankenburg took the ball on a solo run and secured the 13-12 win for the Lopes.
“Lexi being yellow carded out of the game is what pushed to go a little more,” added Gallihguh. “Once they got comfortable with the other team, and got a couple of goals, it really boosted their energy, like, ‘We can really win this, and we are going to push to the end.’”
Gallihugh had high praise for two freshmen Saturday:
Lopes’ defender Becca Luedemann: “Luedemann has been suffering from a foot injury since fall ball and I know it has been affecting her,” said Gallihugh. “Today, she was out on the field working harder than anyone, going after the ball, causing turnovers and pressuring hard. The fact that she can push through that pain through her own desire and for the betterment of the team? Absolutely amazing.”
Lopes’ midfielder Emily Blankenburg: “Blankenburg was hungry this game. She had 4 goals and one assist, which is the most she has had in a game this season.”
Preparing for In-State Rivalries
Friday, March 29, the Lopes will play their first-ever game in GCU Stadium against one of their in-state rivals, the University of Arizona. The Lopes and Wildcats met in fall ball three times, with the Lopes winning two of the three.
“If we dig ourselves into a hole like they did today, they won’t be able to get out of it (against the Wildcats),” said Gallihugh. “U of A is a solid team who will make us pay for our mistakes.”
First face-off between the Lopes and Wildcats Friday is scheduled for 4:30 pm, and will be followed by the same matchup between the men’s lacrosse teams for both sides. Admission to the doubleheader is FREE.
Interested in playing Women’s Lacrosse? Contact Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh today!