Lopes crowned SCCVL Champions on top of wins over Ottawa
By: Julie Laugel/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
Photo Courtesy: SCCVL
In their first weeks back in competition, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Volleyball team competed in matches versus Arizona Christian University and Ottawa University, as well as broke up its roster to compete in tournaments hosted by the Southern California Collegiate Volleyball League and Arizona Region.
The Lopes pulled out wins over Ottawa as well as a three-set victory over Arizona State University to win the SCCVL Tournament.
ACU 3, GCU 2
The Lopes faced their first competition, Arizona Christian, with little time for preparation.
“I was so excited to be able to compete and play six’s, and compete against a team that’s been practicing,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Kristine Naber. “When we got to ACU, nerves were there, and we had some girls who had never played with each other. So, there wasn’t great on-the-court chemistry that we normally have, like trusting the person next to you and knowing what they’re taking or how to talk to them.”
GCU battled the Firestorm in a five-set thriller, but the lack of chemistry caused them to fall short, losing the fifth set, 15-9.
“The difference maker in the fifth set was that when things got a little hectic, we couldn’t respond fast enough or it took us a few points (to get going),” said Naber.
GCU sweeps Ottawa twice
The Lopes quickly bounced back to earn two wins in their first matches of a four-game league with Ottawa University. GCU brought enough players to form three teams while Ottawa only had enough for one, creating a small bracket-style setup.
GCU 1 dominated Ottawa first with a straight-set win, 25-12, 25-16.
“We forced them to make errors and focused on keeping the momentum on our side,” said Naber. “We were super consistent and didn’t let a lot of balls drop, and we put pressure on them both offensively and defensively allowing us to side out at a high percentage.”
On the other court, GCU 2 played GCU 3, where GCU 3 won the match and advanced to play Ottawa next.
GCU 3 also came out with a 2-0 victory over the Spirit, 25-21, 25-19.
“We did a good job as far as staying calm and composed,” said Naber. “They struggled a little bit more staying in system, but when you put pressure on a team, it creates a lot of unforced errors. It wasn’t always pretty, but when we didn’t have a good swing, we just got the ball back on their court and then set up on defense, and when we had a swing, we took it.”
On Saturday, February 27, GCU took one team to a seven-team tournament hosted by the SCCVL in Chandler, and went the entire day without dropping a match in capturing the tournament title.
In the championship match, the Lopes beat crosstown rival Arizona State in three sets, winning the third set 15-12.
“We were super solid and did a good job coming out with the win,” said Naber. “We had strong middles and the setters have a high IQ as far as running an offense and where we need to set the ball.”
Lopes’ freshman attacker Trinity May was selected as MVP of the tournament, while senior libero Angie Castaneda earned an All-Tournament team award.
On February 28, GCU had four teams compete in an adult tournament hosted by the Arizona Region of USA Volleyball. The players created their own teams and played in at least four matches throughout the day.
“For two-thirds of the team, it was their first time competing off-campus because with COVID we haven’t been able to play six’s,” said Naber. “It was designed to be a fun experience for them to put their jerseys on, get together, compete, and have a great day of volleyball.”
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