Lopes tackle tough season together
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
When all else fails, play for each other.
Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby had high hopes going into the 2020-2021 season, but a shortened, two-game season – coupled with several injuries – left the squad reflecting on what really inspires them to play. The Lopes soon realized that no matter what obstacles were thrown their way, they would always cherish and take full advantage of the opportunity to play together.
“They really relied on their fellow teammates,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Lindsey Mahoney. “They were motivated by each other. When they saw their teammates show up every day and stay engaged, that really gave reassurance.”
The Lopes were limited to team practices and training during the fall semester. The spring semester finally welcomed live competition with an intrasquad scrimmage, followed by a game against top-ranked Central Washington University, and a season finale against local adult team Phoenix Rugby Club.
“We worked really hard for a couple of games,” said Mahoney. “The fact that they were able to stay focused on the process – even when things weren’t easy or glamorous – is a really rewarding mentality.”
While the Lopes’ meetings with the Wildcats and the Firebirds did not come out in their favor, they still capitalized on the opportunity to develop the team culture.
“This year, the girls continued to build on their resiliency,” said Mahoney. “They had to learn that pushing through a tough season will be rewarding in the next few years.”
With this unusual year behind them, Mahoney is pleased with what the team accomplished, but it is time to use the lessons learned, and look to the future.
“They were hardheaded, they showed up, and they worked,” said Mahoney. “They overcame a ton of obstacles. I am incredibly proud, and I am excited for what is to come.”
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