Slow start leads to loss against Arizona Storm
By: Julie Laugel/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
A slow start. A motivating end.
Grand Canyon University Women’s Lacrosse took the field one last time for the 2021 season Saturday at GCU Stadium. The Lopes recognized three graduating seniors before falling to the Arizona Storm, 18-8.
All three “senior” athletes are graduating early with degrees in Psychology, and have been with the Women’s Lacrosse program since they first stepped foot onto the GCU campus. Lopes’ defender Paige Mellgren is a sophomore graduating this coming December, while defender Mykenzie Moriarty and attacker Cassie Bergman are both juniors, graduating next month and in December, respectively.
“The seniors bring a lot of leadership, hard work and hustle to both practices and games,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh. “On the field, just them being there gives everyone a little bit of security, and a little bit of energy and enthusiasm.”
The Arizona Storm opened the game with a 7-0 run in the first ten minutes, digging GCU a hole they couldn’t recover from. The Lopes finally broke the Storm’s streak with back-to-back goals from Kat Bambrick and Paige Loeffler, but still trailed at halftime, 12-3.
“The Storm’s intensity and aggression were hard for us to match,” said Gallihugh. “I knew going into this game the Storm was stacked with really good players, and were athletes who go out and give their whole heart and soul the entire time they’re out there, so getting that experience this year is going to get us a leg up on next year.”
GCU battled back in the final half, starting once again with consecutive goals from Bambrick and Loeffler. The Lopes also focused in on defense, and were only outscored by a single goal in the second half.
“Our entire defense was solid,” said Gallihugh. “It was just unfortunate that (the Storm) had the ball more on their attacking and our defensive end, which is what killed us. Paige Mellgren just did not run out of energy. She was able to go up and down the field, was aggressive on defense and smart on offense, and helped on a lot of ground balls.”
Bambrick, Loeffler, and Mercedes Hough led the offense with two goals each, while Ashley McBride and Kate McCarthy each added one.
“Ending the season with a loss gives them things to focus on over the summer,” said Gallihugh. “We have to get stronger and have better endurance and stick skills. Seeing that in a game right before summer I’m hoping gives them momentum and motivation to work on that individually in the next five months and be strong next year.”
Interested in GCU Women’s Lacrosse? Contact Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh for more information!