Lopes Dominate St. Thomas in 3rd-place Game
Grand Canyon University women’s lacrosse finished the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates Division II national tournament with the type of blowout win that the Lopes posted all season.
For the ninth time in 16 games, GCU won a game by seven goals or more with a 13-6 victory against St. Thomas in a WCLA Division II third-place match Saturday at Salt Lake City’s Regional Athletic Complex.
GCU (15-1) followed up last season’s fourth-place finish with a third-place trophy Saturday when it broke open a 5-5 game with two goals from junior attacker Kelsey Wood to end the first half. The goals, assisted by sophomore midfielder Bri Healy and junior attacker Meghan Payne, started a run of five unanswered Lopes goals that carried into the second half.
St. Thomas of Minnesota never pulled the margin any closer than four goals after that. Sophomore midfielder Lexi Ortt added three second-half goals and freshman midfielder Casey Friel scored two goals.
Wood and Ortt each finished the win with five goals. Friel’s pair and sophomore defender Maddie Magoon’s goal accounted for the remainder of GCU’s scoring.
“It was a rough week but the girls finished strong and they finished as a family,” GCU head coach Tracy Gallihugh said. “It has been a great year. They have all worked so hard and have grown so much, both as individuals and as a team. I am so proud of them for finishing third in the nation. It is a great accomplishment. They were all very pleased and happy with their success. Being able to compete in a national tournament is such a fun experience. This season has left them proud but also ready and excited to work hard next year to go even farther. It is a very talented and passionate group of women and I cannot wait to see their continuous success.”
The Lopes reached the national final four by winning their pool Thursday with an 11-10 overtime victory against seventh-seeded Providence and an 11-9 victory against 11th-seeded Utah State. That put GCU in a Friday semifinal game against third-seeded Loyola of Maryland. GCU dug an early 8-1 hole in the first half before rallying but took a 12-8 loss.
The tournament week also included honors for the Lopes with four first-team WCLA Division II All-American players (Ortt, Wood, Healy and sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Paine) and two positional players of the year (Healy as WCLA Division II Midfielder of the Year and Paine as WCLA Division II Goalkeeper of the Year).