By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
There was plenty of talk in the off-season surrounding the success of Grand Canyon University’s Women’s Rugby program. While it was all very much deserving, the players got back to what they seem to know how to do best, and that’s to win matches.
A full summer of training and fresh faces have proven to be the key ingredients for the women’s rugby program. Last Saturday, the Lopes headed north to open the season in Flagstaff, and routed Northern Arizona University in a 55-10 victory. It was the first look for the team in real game action since coming off of the final four appearance last year, and no one missed a beat. The Lopes took a commanding lead early, but what was even more impressive was how the team responded when NAU found a way to score.
Lopes Head Coach Alison Price was encouraged by the strong performance her team displayed.
“A balanced attack, great ball retention and solid aggression,” said Price. “We’ve stressed the fundamentals all off-season, but now it’s all showing. We scored most of our points in the first half, so now we’ll work on maintaining momentum for a full 80 minutes.”
In the sport of rugby, the fall season is a chance where teams are awarded time to find themselves and mesh players’ roles together. Lopes’ team captain Jasmine Fifer, however, had a different outlook of what these early games could mean for the team.
“You couldn’t tell the returners from the new players,” said Fifer. “Everyone is so dedicated to learn, and that shows on the field. We need to continue working on communicating when we’re tired. It’s so easy to let those things go, but if we aren’t talking, then our game won’t be the same.”
The Lopes will look to continue improving as they travel to San Diego, California for the Scrum by the Sea Tournament this weekend. It will be the team’s final opportunity to put their skills to the test against other programs before battling in Division I in the spring.