By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
The Grand Canyon University Women’s Lacrosse team traveled to Santa Barbara, California this weekend to compete in the annual Santa Barbara Shootout, dropping three of their four games.
The first match up of the weekend was against Brigham Young University, a team Gallihugh knew would be a tough match up. BYU finished fifth in the nation last season, and reigned supreme at the Shootout. The Lopes worked hard, but it wasn’t enough as they lost to Cougars, 18-9. “Although there were some mistakes, there were some very great moments in that game. We worked together as a team and were able to hold their own during the majority of the game,” Gallihugh concluded.
The Lopes wound up Saturday’s against the University of California, Davis. The Lopes had the energy and drive to push through and gain their one and only win of the Shootout, beating the Aggies 17-4.
On Sunday, the Lopes took on both St. Mary’s College of California and University of California, Berkeley. The Lopes fell short, losing both matches, 18-5 to St. Mary’s and 21-7 to UC Berkeley.
“We did not play our usual level of game that day,” said Gallihugh. “We just could not find our rhythm with each other.”
Stand Out Players
Though the GCU Women’s Lacrosse team had a tough weekend, a few Lopes stood out, especially Lopes’ freshman goalie Pili Samante. Being both a freshman and new to our higher division, she was not used to the quantity and quality of shots taken on her. She did not let that intimidate her. With 100 shots taken on her from some of the best players, she saved 40 of them.”
Lopes’ captain junior midfielder Lexi Ortt finished the weekend with 11 goals and 6 assists. Lopes’ captain senior attacker Kelsey Wood scored with 13 goals.
Lopes’ freshman defender Tristan Goldhammer and Lopes’ senior midfielder Courtney Benardino “played their hearts out this weekend,” said Gallihugh. “Both were such a positive energy on and off the field. They never stopped, always kept their head high and continuously fought for every ball.”
“A loss is only a bad thing if you don’t take anything from it,” said Gallihugh. Though the Lopes experienced tough road losses, Gallihugh saw the weekend important tool.
“I believe this weekend was both a wakeup call and a humbling experience for the team,” said Gallihugh. “Division 1 teams work very hard to be where they’re at. We have to learn from them in order to match their intensity, confidence, teamwork, and dedication.”
The GCU Women’s Lacrosse team won’t play again until March 24, when the Lopes compete in their first two conference games at home against the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.