By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
Things to do:
Move up in the national rankings. Check.
And beat the team who knock them out of playoffs last year. Double Check.
All in one day, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Rugby team moved up to No. 14 in the DIA College Rugby national rankings, and beat No. 19 University of California-Davis, 45-14, bringing the Lopes’ overall season record to 5-3. This is the third straight match that GCU has scored more than 40 points.
“Going into the match, there was the feeling of getting revenge,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Cam Wyper. GCU was looking for payback, since UC Davis eliminated GCU in last year’s playoff semifinals, 23-17.
That’s exactly what the Lopes got.
Early on, the Lopes commanded the match, shutting out the Aggies in the first half, 28-0. The Lopes continued to push UCD in the second half, extending their lead to as much as 38 points as they coasted to the win.
“The boys played exceptional,” said Wyper. “They played our system and structure that led us to get this win. Beating UC Davis really gives us a lot of confidence that will transition for our match on Saturday against Santa Clara University.”
Wyper specifically singled out the performances of Lopes’ senior center Darien Pickett and Lopes’ sophomore fullback Brendon Curle. “Both players made great offensive and defensive plays that really set the tone for the match,” said Wyper.
The Lopes have picked up some great momentum during the regular season as they inch closer to landing a playoff spot for their first year in D1.
GCU will play again this Saturday in Santa Clara, CA against unranked Santa Clara University. The Lopes will return back to GCU for their last regular season matchup against Cal Poly on March 26 at 5 pm at GCU Stadium.
Interested in play D1A college rugby? Contact Lopes’ Head Coach Cam Wyper today!