Lopes determined to compete despite small roster
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
The short-handed Lopes dug deep.
The Grand Canyon University Club Beach Volleyball team competed with only five athletes last Friday at Scottsdale Ranch Park where they dropped a 4-1 loss to Arizona Christian University, followed by another 4-1 loss to Ottawa University.
The Lopes’ limited roster numbers accounted for just half of a regular 10-woman squad that allows for five doubles pairings. The Lopes faced the harsh realities of zero rest time, and a high-volume schedule as they relied on a resilient five-player crew to compete in the three-team round-robin tournament.
Arizona Christian 4, GCU 1
The match began with the fifth, fourth, and third pairs competing. Due to the Lopes’ insufficient roster numbers, GCU freshman Teagan Brownee was forced to team up with an Ottawa University player on Court 5. Brownee and her temporary partner fell to ACU, 21-13, 21-15. In the No. 4 matchup, the Lopes dropped another 2-set loss to the Firestorm, 21-14, 21-18.
On Court 3, Lopes’ junior Kendall Nagai and freshman Adriana Ramirez secured GCU’s first win of the day with a 21-13, 21-19 victory.
“It was good to gain experience against a competitive team,” said Nagai. “It is important to get that practice reading other players.”
In a quick turnaround, Nagai and Ramirez faced the Firestorm’s No. 1 pair immediately after their Court 3 win, battling in set 1 but falling short, 23-21. The fatigue from back-to-back matches finally set in for the Lopes’ pair as they dropped set 2, 21-13.
The Lopes fell once last time to the Firestorm on Court 2 (21-1, 21-14), finalizing Arizona Christian’s 4-1 victory.
Ottawa University 4, GCU 1
The Lopes’ match against Ottawa University began with a 21-8, 21-11 loss on Court 5, followed by another loss on Court 3 (21-17, 22-20).
For the No. 4 faceoff, GCU – yet again – had to pair up with an opposing player. This time it was up to Lopes’ freshman Lauren Thomas to join forces with an Arizona Christian player. Together, the unlikely duo defeated Ottawa’s fourth pair in a three-set thriller (21-23, 21-19, 16-14).
The Lopes were unable to claim any additional wins on the day.
Despite the outcome, Lopes’ Head Coach Mia Martinez still recognized the tournament as a valuable opportunity for the team.
“Finally having the chance to compete was a huge moment for the girls,” said Martinez. “It gave them confidence to put the skills they have been working on into action.”
Want to find out how to join the GCU Club Beach Volleyball team? Learn more here!