The GCU women’s lacrosse team ended last season a roll but this season’s team is steamrolling into the postseason.
The Lopes closed their regular season Sunday at home but jumping out to an 18-0 halftime lead on the way to a 24-2 victory against California-Irvine at Prescott Field.
Second-ranked GCU was one poll point shy of Denver Club for the No. 1 ranking in last week’s Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates Division II poll. The Lopes (10-0) added another blowout to their season’s resume on Sunday but did not stall in doing so this time.
“For once, they finally played the entire game the way they usually do,” GCU coach Tracy Gallihugh said. “Usually, they wait for the second half to come out strong. But from the very first whistle to the very last, they played their game the entire time. It was the first time I’d ever seen them do that so it’s amazing.
“The fact that they can do it now means for sure they can bring it in the playoffs.”
Nine Lopes players scored goals while sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Paine and the GCU defense kept the Anteaters shut out until 25:30 remained in the game.
“We have some injuries so it was a little hard to get into the swing of it but we have so many great players that it was fun to go out there and show what we’re made of,” said GCU sophomore midfielder Bri Healy, the Encinitas, Calif., native who had four goals, two assists and five ground balls on Sunday. “We were disappointed last year in the (national) semifinals. It would be fun to bring home a ring”
The Lopes have two weeks to get ready for the Western Women’s Lacrosse League playoffs. Sunday was only their second opportunity to play a home game and a last chance for Gallihugh and her assistant coaches to experiment with positional changes before the playoffs.
Junior attacker Kelsey Wood and sophomore midfielder Lexi Ortt also each scored four goals to tie Healy for the team game high. Wood and Ortt also each added three assists. Freshman midfielder Casey Friel and junior midfielder Courtney Benardino each scored three goals.
“It was a good feel bringing it into the playoffs and hopefully we can get on a good roll for nationals,” said Ortt, an Aurora, Colo., native. “We had the same momentum last year. This year, we’re trying to win a ring.
“Our hearts are in it. We’re all just committed and we want to go farther than we did last year.”