By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
Riding the momentum of having won the Gold Coast Conference Intercollegiate Rugby (GCCIR) Championship for the first time ever, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby team got their first taste of 2018 USA Rugby Women’s D1/D1 Elite Spring National Tournament play last weekend in Provo, Utah. Despite having high hopes of winning it all, the Lopes fell to their first-round opponent in the West Coast Round of 16 Pool Play, defending national champion University of California-Davis, 58-17.
The loss marked the first of the season for GCU, snapping an eight-match winning streak, and it was a match that featured both season worsts for the Lopes in both points scored and points allowed.
“UC Davis was incredible,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Daniela Mogro. “They’re a team who is well established with tradition, and came into the match with plenty of momentum.”
The Aggies’ victory was in large part due to being able to jump out to a 36-0 lead before the Lopes answered back with a try of their own right before the end of the first half. The second half was much more competitive, with GCU being outscored by only 10. However, UC Davis was in control for the majority of the match.
“You can’t come out flat like we did,” said Mogro. “As a team, we could have executed better-especially by turning it on early-but it was still great to play a team at this level for a full 80 minutes.”
Lopes Bounce Back With Win Over Rival ASU in Consolation Final
It wouldn’t be unreasonable to worry about a possible lingering hangover for a team who was previously undefeated. A day after falling to UCD, Grand Canyon found themselves in a rematch against Arizona State University, the team they had beaten in the first round of the GCCIR Playoffs.
“We’re a team who wants to compete at our best every single time,” said Mogro. “We were all disappointed from the game before, and had injuries to four starters, so it was a real challenge to bounce back. It was a true testament to our team as a whole to step up and keep getting better.”
While the game was closer than the first time the two teams played each other, GCU still came away with a 39-24 victory. The win was the third straight Lopes’ win over the Sun Devils (including a 28-0 forfeit win over ASU in late January).
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