By: Chase Gardiner/GCU Staff
Following a strong 2-0 start to their season, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Rugby Team hit their first ‘bump in the road’ this weekend against the University of Arizona, who handed the Lopes their first loss, 34-14.
While a loss of any kind is never desired, Lopes Head Coach Cam Wyper was still very proud of the way his team competed against heavy competition.
“U of A is one of the best teams in the country, which is why they are ranked at No. 6, and deserved to be ranked even higher going into our match,” said Wyper. “Despite their talent level, though, I was really proud of our guys and the way the team hung with them. The score doesn’t really tell the story of how close the game was and how our boys battled.”
Unforced errors late in the match proved to be the Lopes’ undoing.
“We actually were playing like the better team for a majority of the game,” said Wyper. “Towards the end, though, we made some really crucial unforced errors, which U of A was able to take advantage of, and that ultimately gave them the win. We’ve already had a film session on it, though, and addressed those mistakes.”
Although a singular loss might not seem too important, especially when it comes from a higher ranked team, GCU finds itself in a dire situation. After coming into the match ranked No. 20 in last week’s D1A Rugby Poll, the loss dropped the Lopes completely out of the rankings for the first time this season.
“Having our ranking drop that low is pretty frustrating, especially since that rank matters in terms of making the playoffs later in the year,” explained Wyper. “It’s a little hard to understand how we could drop to unranked after only 1 loss, but we just plan on using that to fuel the fire going forward.”
Wyper’s team seems more than prepared to prove their value in the upcoming weeks.
“I think the boys were really hurting after the loss, mostly because they know that they have what it takes to compete with high ranked teams like U of A, and they just didn’t put it together this time around,” said Wyper. “We can see that they are motivated to get to work, and show everyone that they have what it takes the next time out.”
GCU’s next opportunity will come on Saturday, February 16, as they take on Santa Clara University in their first home game of the season. The match will begin at 1 pm at GCU Stadium, and admission is FREE!
Interested in joining the Men’s Rugby team? Contact the coach to learn more!