By: Ruby Arani / GCU Staff
Playing a trio of games in a 24-hour span, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Lacrosse program earned their first win of the season at the annual Santa Barbara Shootout in sunny Santa Barbara, California. The Lopes were defeated by the University of Utah, 13-7, in their lone Saturday matchup, but split their two Sunday games, knocking off University of California, Davis, 12-7, Sunday morning before finishing the weekend with a 19-5 loss to the University of California, Berkeley.
While the Lopes dropped the first matchup of the weekend to Utah, the difference in GCU’s performance from the week before was evident.
“Regardless of the final score, we played a great game against Utah,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh. “We had much better field awareness and confidence in ourselves and our teammates. Our downfall was groundballs and shots on goal. These two things have been a year-long problem that we will continue to work on and drill during practice.”
That newfound confidence carried over into the next morning when the Lopes gained both their first win of the season and only win of the tournament over UCD.
“It was the best game we have played this far,” said Gallihugh. “They all truly wanted the ball. We more than doubled the number of shots we took. We were aggressive and fearless on all ends of the field. We played as a team, seeing each other on the transitions, on the fast breaks, and on the cuts.”
Unfortunately, the energy it took to post the win took its toll just hours later against UC Berkeley.
“Our players were just so mentally and physically exhausted that they dug themselves into a hole that they couldn’t get out of,” said Gallihugh.
The Lopes had an intense competitive weekend that sets up expectations for tough competition the Lopes will face the rest of the season.
“This tournament was a huge progress for our team,” said Gallihugh. “Not only did we get our first win, but we saw the level of play that we are capable of and we felt what it took to play at that level.”
Stand Out Lope
Senior captain midfielder Lexi Ortt had a solid performance over the weekend with seven goals, three assists, eight draw controls and 11 groundballs.
“Ortt showed up to win this weekend,” said Gallihugh. “She really stood up to her role as captain and led by example this weekend. I am so proud of the way she played and can’t wait to see what she does in the next game.”
St. Mary’s of California
This Sunday, the Lopes return to Prescott Field to take on St. Mary’s College of California. St. Mary’s ended the 2018 season ranked 17th by the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association. The Lopes lost to the Gaels, 18-5, last year at the Santa Barbara Shootout, but Gallihugh is hoping to rewrite history.
“St. Mary’s is yet another tough opponent,” said Gallihugh. “With the weekend we just had, we know what it takes to win a game and the effort and heart we need to play with.”
Start time this Sunday, February 24 at 10 am at Prescott Field. ADMISSION IS FREE.
Play Lacrosse? Love Grand Canyon University? Contact Lopes’ Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh Today!