By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
New season, same Lopes.
Picking up right where they left off last year, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby team opened up their season with a huge 68-0 victory over archrival University of Arizona. This marks the second year in a row that GCU has shut out UofA in convincing fashion.
Two new additions, freshmen Taylor Morasco and Ryanne Payne, both had breakout performances in the match. Morasco was an offensive giant, scoring a team-high four tries, while Payne set the tone on defense while adding a pair of tries to help secure the Lopes’ victory.
Lopes Assistant Coach Dom Iacovino addressed the two player’s performances and their potential moving forward.
“Tita (Morasco) is one of the strongest runners on the team, and she was all over the place offensively and defensively,” said Iacovino. “Ryanne stepped up big as well by being everywhere on the field. They both played outstanding.”
With GCU’s only preseason match being a loss to BYU, Iacovino used that as motivation heading into this matchup.
“I told them to remember that taste in their mouths, and to work hard so they don’t have to taste it again,” said Iacovino. “One thing the team improved on from BYU to UofA was their defensive strength on the outside. BYU scored their only tries from outside.”
While it was a dominating win, Iacovino still pointed out several areas for improvement.
“Rugby is a game of doing so many little things right, so there’s always something to get better at,” said Iacovino. “For us, we can get better at structure and line speed. If we can do that, we’ll make it to the 15s and 7s nationals.”
Grand Canyon will seek its 11th consecutive regular season win this Saturday, January 26, when they travel to Los Angeles, California to battle UCLA. The Lopes haven’t lost a regular season matchup since February 18, 2017, against UC-Irvine.