Lopes begin 2018-19 with No. 12 spot in Preseason D1A Rugby Poll
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
The Grand Canyon University Men’s Rugby team is ranked 12th in the D1A College Rugby Preseason Top 20 Poll. While the Lopes spent the final 12 weeks of the 2017-18 season entrenched in the poll, it’s the first time the Lopes have enjoyed a preseason national ranking in men’s rugby.
While this latest occurrence may be for the start of a new season, it continues the trend of ‘firsts’ for the Lopes during the 2018 calendar year. 2017-18 was GCU’s first at the DI level, and they showed they were worthy of the opportunity in several different ways. Their first national ranking happened in late January after they used a comeback win on the road against then-10th-ranked (and preseason No. 16) San Diego State University to land at No. 19. The Lopes continued a gradual climb up the rankings with a total of three wins over other nationally ranked squads before securing their first-ever D1A College Rugby postseason berth. While they lost that Round of 16 match against 3rd-seeded (and preseason No. 2) University of California-Berkeley, they took solace in the fact that the Bears reached the DIA College Rugby Championship Match. The Lopes finished the 2017-18 season with a 7-3 overall record, and ranked No. 11 in the final D1A Poll, which was their highest ranking ever.
The Lopes will play a series of scrimmages against other universities in College 15s for their fall schedule, while still participating in College 7s in the West Coast Sevens Tournament in San Luis Obispo, California early next month (where they finished 3rd at a year ago). The Lopes open up their 2019 regular season on Saturday, January 19, against 4th-ranked (and 2017 national champion) St. Mary’s University (California) on the GCU campus.
The entire D1A College Rugby Preseason Rankings are listed below:
|Rank||Team||Spring ’18 Final Rank|
|4||St. Mary’s (CA)||4|
|11||Notre Dame College (OH)||12|
|15||San Diego State||16|