The setting of GCU’s Prescott Field was familiar for the women’s lacrosse team, even if having a game there and its first-half play Sunday was not.
The second-ranked Lopes turned a tight first half into a more familiar dominating second half to rout Nevada-Las Vegas, 18-4, in GCU’s season campus debut.
The Lopes had won each of their first eight games to build up a No. 2 national ranking in Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates Division 2. Making its season home debut, GCU trailed UNLV, 3-0, through some early chaotic play in the game before working its way back to a 6-4 halftime lead.
GCU emerged for the second half with its high level of play and fastbreaking style from the season and scored 12 unanswered goals. Half of the team’s goals Sunday were assisted.
“We had to change and we had to play the way we have,” Lopes coach Tracy Gallihugh said. “We starting working together, using each other, going for every ball, seeing the field better and moving the ball faster.”
GCU sophomore midfielder Lexi Ortt assisted on five goals and scored four for a team-high nine points against UNLV. Sophomore midfielder Bri Healy and junior attacker Kelsey Wood each netted a team-high five goals. Wood now ranks second in Western Women’s Lacrosse League Division II for goals per game (4.22). Ortt is fourth in points per game (4.89).
Junior midfielder Courtney Benardino and sophomore defender Arisbel Gonzalez each scooped up a team-high four ground balls. Sophomore goalkeeper Caitlin Paine made eight saves. Teams are averaging only 5.1 goals per game this season against GCU, which is scoring 14.9 goals per game.
The Lopes will play at home again on April 9, when they will have an 11 a.m. Western Women’s Lacrosse League South Conference game against undefeated California-Irvine at Prescott Field.