Lopes struggle to find groove against top-notch team
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
Photo Credit: Jeff Dalton Photography
With an extremely young and shorthanded squad, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby team was little match for undefeated Central Washington University in the Lopes’ first game of the season at the GCU Practice Soccer Field. The match was GCU’s first time taking the pitch against an opponent in almost exactly a calendar year.
“We knew that it was going to be a tough game,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Lindsey Mahoney. “Central Washington is one of the best teams in the nation and we were humbled and grateful for the opportunity to compete against them.”
GCU met a rude awakening in the first few minutes of the game as the Wildcats dominated the Lopes on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Matters worsened for the Lopes when GCU freshman forward Carmen Nichols encountered a rough tackle early in the first half that forced her to the sidelines for the remainder of the game.
Nichols’ injury left the already shorthanded Lopes with just one substitution available for the final 50 minutes of the match. For most of the Lopes’ players, this sealed the fate that they would never see a minute of rest on the sidelines.
“It is hard on the bodies physically, mentally, and emotionally to be out there for 80 minutes knowing there is not really any substitutions available,” said Mahoney. “Somehow, they were still able to keep that grit and resilience from the first minute to that last minute.”
Despite the lopsided outcome, the Lopes showed their head coach they can handle the hardships of losing.
“I saw positives in this game,” said Mahoney. “The girls were supporting each other and smiling throughout the game. This showed they were able to get out of their heads and respond to the adversity.”
The Lopes will have two weeks to regroup before they are back in action against Phoenix Rugby Club on Saturday, Mar. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 am at the GCU Practice Soccer Field.
Curious what GCU Women’s Rugby is all about? Visit the team page to learn more!