Team Canyon digs deep for 30-25 win
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
Photo Credit: Jeff Dalton Photography
Grand Canyon became Grand vs. Canyon.
To get themselves prepared for their first real game competition in almost exactly a year, Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby split its squad into two teams (Team Grand vs. Team Canyon) for a game of 7-man rugby at the GCU Stadium on Saturday. The two teams fought a close battle in the intrasquad scrimmage, with Team Canyon coming out on top with a 30-25 victory.
For the intrasquad scrimmage, Lopes’ Head Coach Lindsey Mahoney decided to break up the event into three matches with 7-minute halves each. While they reset the scores on the scoreboard after each half, the 30-25 final tally reflected the cumulative scores of the two squads.
While their limited numbers forced the switch up from their usual 15-man competition, the Lopes were eager to get back into the swing of things in any form.
“The energy out there was electric,” said Mahoney. “We had 6 girls playing in their first rugby match ever, and the rest of the team had not played in a year.”
Team Grand came out strong to build a 10-0 lead. Team Canyon eventually woke up offensively, scoring their second try in the final seconds of the first 7-minute half to tie it up at 10-10.
Those first seven minutes set the tone for the day. From then on, any time one team found their way to the try zone, the opposing team immediately answered with a try of their own. Neither team could hold onto a lead for long.
After two matches of back-and-forth action between the two Lopes’ teams, Team Canyon held off a late Team Grand rally in the third and final half to secure the 30-25 victory.
While several Lopes’ returners impressed Mahoney with their play, the 2nd-year Lopes’ Head Coach was especially pleased with one newcomer: GCU freshman Emeral Ferrell.
“We were all really impressed by Emeral’s strength and confidence going forward with the ball,” said Mahoney. “She was fun to watch, and I am excited to see what things come from her.”
Team Canyon may have walked away leaders on the scoreboard, but this game proved to be a win for the entire GCU Women’s Rugby squad.
“The scrimmage was an opportunity,” said Mahoney. “Experiencing the full contact and full-sized reps prepares us so we are not surprised next week when we face a really tough team.”
The real competition begins this Saturday, Mar. 6, when the Lopes are set to take on Central Washington University at the GCU Practice Soccer Field. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.
Want to learn more about GCU Women’s Rugby? Visit the team page here!