Lopes’ Intrasquad Scrimmage Decided by Single Point
By: Zach Melcher/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
After big plays and bigger emotions, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Rugby team’s first match ended a little sooner than expected.
“I called this game early because I realized these kids were emotionally and physically fatigued,” said GCU Head Coach Sean O’Leary “When I pulled the plug there was a sense of relief and gratitude from the team knowing they gave it their all.”
The first full contact match for the Lopes was an intrasquad scrimmage played at GCU Stadium – some 50 weeks after the last actual match the Lopes participated in.
“It wasn’t until I arrived at the field that I realized how truly grateful I was for this opportunity,” said O’Leary. “It was extraordinary to see the staff and all the boys on the field competing again.”
With a culmination of new and veteran talent, the Lopes were evenly divided between Team Black and Team Purple. From the start of the game the excitement and emotions were evident on the Lopes’ faces, all leading to the first score of the match.
“The first try that we scored was an amazing moment,” said Lopes’ forward Damon McCaskill. “It was fun to finally be out on the field competing again.”
The match was a back-and-forth battle, and Team Purple’s try but subsequent missed extra point late in the second half left Team Black with a 25-24 edge before the early stoppage.
“It was a fiery and passionate competition,” said O’Leary. “Both teams showed great athleticism and teamwork the entire match.”
“Our goal is to continue to get better and compete with the top dogs,” said McCaskill. “Moving forward, we are excited to continue training, preparing, and improving before our next matches.”
Up next for the Lopes is another intrasquad scrimmage this Saturday, March 6 at 2 pm at the GCU Practice Soccer Field to prepare for their first scheduled match against San Diego State University March 27.
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