By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
The first game of the season is always the most nerve-wracking, especially starting in a new division. But it is up to the team to play into or overcome those nerves to get the results you want. That is exactly what the Grand Canyon University Women’s Lacrosse team did to beat the Gaucho’s of the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), 11-10, in overtime, Friday night, in the program’s first ever Division I match.
UCSB took control of the match early, scoring in the first two minutes of the first half. As the match progressed, the Gauchos continued to press the Lopes to score three more goals. The first half was close to being finished, when the Lopes finally got a much-needed goal scored by junior midfielder Alexis Ortt. The Lopes weren’t done for the half, scoring two more goals in the final two minutes to trail, 4-3
“The first half started rocky,” said Lopes’ Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh. “We have not played teams at this higher level, and everyone’s nerves were high, and we needed to find our rhythm.”
As the second half started, the Lopes gain control of the match early by scoring two goals. Throughout the duration of the match, the scoring went back and forth. With only twenty minutes left in the match, the Gauchos responded with a four-goal run. Trailing, 10-7, with less than ten minutes left, the Lopes founded a much-needed spark from GCU junior midfielder Maddie Magoon, who scored to close the gap to two. The Lopes kept their composure as the clock continued to tick away, scoring two late goals to send the match into overtime at 10-10.
Both sides prepared for sudden death as the crowd rose to its feet. The Lopes took possesson at the opening whistle, moved down the field with quick and precise passing to find Lopes’ junior midfielder Brianna Healy, who scored the game winning goal 40 seconds into the extra period to give GCU an amazing 11-10 win. The team and the crowd rushed toward center field to celebrate the historic milestone.
“We played a great game and got the result we wanted,” said Gallihugh. “I am excited for the rest of the season. We gained key takeaways from this match that we can work on and improve for our future competition.”
The Lopes will continue their DI journey this Sunday, February 4 at Prescott Field on the GCU campus to take on the Trojans of the University of Southern California. Game time is at 9 am and admission is free.