A short yet defining season
By: Giovanni Hicks/ GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
“Our guys showed perseverance through the adversity they faced this past year. I am looking forward to building upon the experiences from this past year.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous effect on athletics across the world over the past year. As the words of Lopes’ Head Coach Jeff Guy above indicate, the Grand Canyon University Lacrosse team was no exception. After its 2020 season was suddenly halted at its halfway point, GCU had to wait another 360 days before facing outside competition again.
The Lopes hosted five regular season games in 2021, finishing with a 2-3 record. Although COVID protocols and injuries resulted in multiple starters collecting DNP’s (“did not play” status) for the Lopes, it did open other doors.
“We were a young team only having three seniors,” said Guy. “A lot of younger players were able to develop well over the course of the year.”
The season got off to a rough start as the Lopes fell to Brigham Young University in the first game despite a three-goal effort by GCU’s Griffin Rodas. That “hat trick” performance was a foreshadowing of things to come, since the Lopes’ junior attackman finished the season with a team-high 23 points, collecting 14 goals and nine assists through just five games.
“Last year, Griffin was our top-scoring offensive midfielder,” said Guy. “This season, we moved him to attack, and he did an exceptional job there as well.”
Less than 48 hours after the BYU loss, the Lopes pulled off an incredible comeback win in overtime over Utah Valley University after trailing by two in the fourth quarter. It was the third time in as many games that a GCU – UVU matchup went to overtime, and the first time the Lopes came out on top.
“The team’s mental toughness showed in the win,” said Guy. “It was a back-and-forth game for 60 minutes, and we came out on top in overtime.”
After dropping their next game to University of Arizona by a single goal, Lopes’ attackman Grayson Goodyear put on a show with an eight-goal performance in a win over Concordia University Irvine before the Lopes dropped the season finale to undefeated Chapman University. For the Lopes’ seniors, although it was a sour way to end their collegiate career, they recognized the impact that Guy and the program had on them.
“Coach Guy and this program have pushed me to reach levels that I didn’t know I could reach,” said Lopes’ defenseman Ryan McCormick. “I learned so many lessons that helped me grow – both on and off the field.”