By: K.J. Wylie/GCU Staff
“Being there for each other, with each other.” Lopes’ senior MacKartnie Gandy
Following a stellar performance in their opening match of the season, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Rugby team took down UCLA Sunday, 36-12, in Los Angeles, California. Fighting through their fair share of adversity, the Lopes improved to 2-0 on the season, and notched their 11th consecutive victory in conference play.
Despite jumping out to a quick lead over the Bruins, a variety of injuries slowed the Lopes’ momentum. While none of the injuries were serious enough to hold anyone out for a prolonged period of time, it did put the program in new territory.
“I’ve never had a day where so many players had to play in a new spot,” said Gandy, who has been on the team since the program started. “This was truly a genuine team win. Everyone was communicating with each other, and kept a positive attitude throughout the whole day.”
With such a huge victory now on its resume, GCU is proving themselves to be an early-season contender.
“I honestly think that it’s a huge benefit to know that even if we are physically tested, we can still come together,” said Gandy. “We all love the game of rugby, and it’s such a great feeling knowing we can win no matter what’s thrown at us.”
Staying true to Lopes’ Assistant Coach Dom Locavino’s words after last week’s dominant 68-0 win over the University of Arizona (“Rugby is about working on so many little things”), Gandy pointed to several elements the team must work on.
“Offensively, we want to get our structure better – getting into our plays sooner and being more efficient,” said Gandy. “On the defensive side, we’ll work on playing the line better, and being ready to make hits across the field.”
The Lopes will finally feel the comforts of home this Saturday, February 2 as they host archrival Arizona State University at GCU Stadium. The Lopes swept the Sun Devils last season in three matches (including the Gold Coast Conference Intercollegiate Rugby (GCCIR) Division I Semifinals). Game time is 1 pm.