Two wins are always better than one.
In one of their highest scoring performances of the season, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Rugby team’s offense showed up big against their in-state rival Arizona State University with a 43-15 victory. The Lopes (3-2 overall) bounced back beautifully from the BYU loss a week ago by nearly doubling their season scoring average of just 22 points per game.
After falling behind early, 7-0, on an ASU runback of an intercepted ball, the rest of the match showcased a Lopes’ offense that truly emerged for the first time in 2018. With tries coming from a multitude of players, the Lopes kept their foot on the gas the whole night. The consistency throughout the match resulted in seven tries for the No. 19 team in the nation. GCU’s Maceo Brown and Christian Bucklin led the way with a pair of tries each, while Zander Tkel, Darien Pickett and Cameron Dodson all found the goal line as well for the Lopes.
Focusing on offensive schemes was an aspect Lopes’ Head Coach Cam Wyper alluded to leading up to the game. Lopes’ senior Utility Nimer Munakash said the team realized how much that paid dividends Friday.
“The main focus throughout the season has been spending most of our time on defense and using it to create offense,” said Munakash. “This time, we worked on actually getting on offense and creating structure so it could be more fluent.”
Was the change in focus difficult for team to adjust to?
“When walking, you don’t think about the previous steps. Only the next ones,” said Munakash. “We have a saying: ‘Learn from the past, but don’t dwell on it.’ We came back from BYU even more motivated to fix what we did wrong.”
In the second game of the night, Grand Canyon’s JV team also came away with a strong victory over ASU, 29-7, to complete the sweep. The 29 points scored marked huge milestones for the team by securing their first victory and posting both season bests in points scored and points allowed.
The Lopes will have two weeks of preparation before they continue with their daunting schedule by heading back to St George, Utah for a showdown with No. 11 University of Utah. Both teams will look to display the newfound offensive prowess displayed. Last weekend’s game in the GCU Stadium will be the last for a while for the Lopes as the Utah matchup kicks off a three-game road trip. However, the team will be back home before season’s end on March 26 versus California Polytechnic State University.
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