Defending national champions to face No. 7 BYU in first round game next Monday
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
Harder road. Same goal.
After getting upset over the weekend at the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (SLC) Championships, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Lacrosse team earned the No. 10 seed for the 2018 Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) Division I National Championships, which begin next Monday, May 7 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Lopes secured one of the four at-large bids to the 16-team tournament, and are one of three SLC teams to reach nationals (Chapman is the top seed, while Concordia-Irvine is seeded 8th). The Lopes will square off against 7th-seeded Brigham Young University in first-round action next Monday night. The game will pit the teams that owned the top two seeds in the 2017 national tournament (BYU was 1st, GCU 2nd).
While getting seeded 10th may list the Lopes as one of the tournament underdogs, there are few in the field that will want to tangle with the team that has won the national championship two of the last three years, and come in looking to defend their 2017 title. Only three of the other 15 teams in the tournament field – Concordia-Irvine, 4th-seeded University of Colorado and 11th-seeded Boston College – were part of the Lopes’ 2018 regular season schedule.
Monday’s matchup will be the sixth time in the Lopes’ history that they’ve faced off against BYU, and it’s the first time since last season that GCU and BYU have been on the same field. That time, BYU came away with a 13-7 victory, but it was the loss that started a 13-game win streak leading to the national championship. Back in 2016, the Lopes posted their first-ever win over the Cougars: a 12-4 victory in late March in Provo, Utah. This will also be the second time the two teams have faced each other in national tournament play, having seen each other in the first round of the 2013 MCLA National Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina, with BYU prevailing, 17-8. The winner of Monday’s first-round matchup advances to the quarterfinal round on Tuesday, May 8 against the winner of the first-round game between 2nd-seeded University of Utah and 15th-seeded Texas A&M University.
Monday’s first-round game is scheduled to face off at 6:15 pm Arizona time at the Salt Lake City Regional Athletic Complex. The Lopes (9-3) need four wins in Utah to earn their second straight national title.
The entire 16-team tournament field is listed below in order of seeding: