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GCU Women’s Lacrosse overran by Arizona Storm in home opener

Women's Lacrosse team breaking out of huddle
March 1, 2021

Lopes lose, 8-7, in point-for-point battle

By: Julie Laugel/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

Disappointing results, but a promising start.

After a long point-for-point battle in its first competition in nearly a year, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Lacrosse team’s late rally fell short, losing to the Arizona Storm, 8-7, at GCU’s Prescott Field on Saturday. The Lopes’ young roster and extensive break from competition put them at a disadvantage in dropping to 0-1 on the season.

“We have a lot of freshmen, so we really just worked on playing together and any new strategies we have on our team,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh. “We focused a lot on fundamentals, stick skills, and learning how each other plays.”

The game was tight from the start, with the two teams deadlocked at 2-2 after the first five minutes. Goals from Lopes’ sophomore Jessie Ridgeway and freshman Anna Nicholls kept GCU in the game, but the Storm began to pull away for a 6-4 lead at the half.

“It was a lot of people’s first collegiate game, so there was a lot of nerves and adrenaline, which caused us to lose the ball,” said Gallihugh. “Our stats were really good – except for the turnovers. We just couldn’t hang on to the ball, but besides that, the hustle and aggression were there.”

Lopes’ junior midfielder Paige Loeffler set the tone for the second half, scoring a quick goal out of halftime.

“Paige’s hustle and intensity, and going after every single ball was really needed,” said Gallihugh. “That energy on the field lifted everyone up.”

“We definitely started growing our synergy throughout the game,” said Loeffler. “Our defense did amazing, and our midfield transitions and draw controls looked really good as well.”

Gallihugh called a timeout with 11 minutes left in the game and the Lopes trailing, 8-6. With the help of blocked shots from GCU goalie Josie Karlovic, the Lopes held the Storm scoreless for the remainder of the game. The Lopes scored one final goal within the last 20 seconds, but the running clock elapsed before GCU had a chance to tie.

Ridgeway, Nicholls and Loeffler carried the offense with two goals each, while GCU freshman Ashley Swearingen added one.

“We did really good for a lot of the girls never playing with each other before,” said Gallihugh. “We did end up winning the second half, and seeing the improvements and people taking into consideration what happened and improving upon that was good.”

The Lopes next take the field on Saturday, March 13, for an alumni match at GCU Stadium.

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