Lopes score 53 unanswered points en route to 67-17 win over UC Santa Barbara in title match
In a rematch against 2nd-seeded University of Santa Barbara with the ultimate regional prize on the line, the top-seeded Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby team rose to the occasion Sunday afternoon in the Gold Coast Intercollegiate Women’s Rugby (GCCIR) Championship Match. The Lopes’ tenacious effort from start to finish helped them run away from the Gauchos in the second half en route to a 67-17 victory. Lopes’ Center Julian White led the team with a game-high five tries, while fellow center Dae Tuaua added three assists and consistently made score-saving tackles on the defensive end.
The Lopes executed their game plan Sunday in similar fashion to the team’s first-round match against ASU Saturday. In each match, the Lopes had to fight their way to a seven-point halftime lead, and on Sunday, GCU had to battle back from behind to take a 19-12 edge. The Lopes’ coaching staff was impressed by how the team was able to implement second half adjustments to their defensive side.
“The team listens and executes really well,” said Lopes’ Co-Head Coach Daniela Mogro. “We know that our best may not always be there, but we can make in-game adjustments to get to being our best.”
The evidence showed on the scoreboard, since Grand Canyon surrendered only five points combined in the second half of both matches.
GCU’s relentless effort on offense throughout the match displayed the disparity between the two contenders’ conditioning levels.
“It’s a 360 approach,” said Mogro. “The physical conditioning, body recovery and mental conditioning all plays a role into being able to play hard for a full 80 minutes.”
With the new GCCIR Championship trophy the Lopes (8-0) hoisted after the match comes a bid to enter nationals in mid-April. UCSB (6-2) will still have an opportunity to make the national tournament as a wild card team for being GCCIR Runner.
GCCIR Consolation Final: #4 Arizona State 44, #3 Cal-State Northridge 34
The morning match featured a spirited battle in the GCCIR Consolation Final between 4th-seeded Arizona State University and 3rd-seeded California State University-Northridge. The two teams switched leads a total of four times before ASU ran away at the end for a 44-34 win. The win brings the Sun Devils back to an even 4-4 record to finish out the 2018 campaign, while the Matadors finish the year at 3-5.
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