By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff
Photo Credit: Jeff Dalton
Positive attitude. Positive outcome.
For thefifth straight time, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby defeated in-state rival Arizona State University Saturday, 32-19, in Tempe. Four different Lopes’ players scored at least one try, and Lopes junior back Temprist Smith found the try zone twice. This comes on the heels of last season’s 51-12 thrashing of the Sun Devils at GCU Stadium – the largest margin of victory in the history of the rivalry.
“We came in really strong,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Lindsey Mahoney. “We scored two tries in the first five minutes of the game. That brought our confidence up from the start.”
With plenty of energy and a strong offense, that was evident from the first whistle, the Lopes still entered the second half leading by just one score. Despite playing down a player in the second half, the Lopes still put pressure on ASU’s defense, and the match quickly became a Lope-driven game. Lopes’ standouts Jasmine Fifer, Ashley Jones, Sachiko Williams and Taylor Marasco all scored tries with a successful two-point conversion by Heather Thomas.
“We were able to clean up a couple set-piece issues after the BYU loss,” said Mahoney. “We worked on our line-outs, and it ended up being one of our stronger characteristics in this game.”
However, the match wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Lopes.
“I am proud of the girls’ attitudes,” said Mahoney. “There were some calls that could have changed the outcome, but the girls were able to hold it together and keep the right attitude. They pushed forward, made the necessary corrections, and were able to capitalize.”
GCU’s conference is based on points, and the Lopes looks to gain more against University of Arizona.
“I’m excited to put together all the bits we’ve been working on in the past few weeks,” said Mahoney. “University of Arizona is going to be the best match up of this season because of their great program and depth they bring to the field. They will be a great challenge for us.”
The Lopes continue their regular season schedule against University of Arizona Friday, Feb. 7 at 8 pm in GCU Stadium.