Lopes welcome 15 recruits for the upcoming season
By: Julie Laugel/GCU Staff
Coming off a 2-6 overall record in the 2019-20 season, Grand Canyon University Women’s Lacrosse looks to fifteen new recruits to bring fresh talent to the team and up the competition level this coming spring.
“I’m excited about this recruiting class,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh. “Every year, they get better, and the freshmen coming in are more experienced, have more knowledge of the sport and are more committed, which is going to be super helpful with the culture.”
Despite restrictions of COVID-19, the Lopes were able to bring in a talented number of recruits, with incoming athletes hailing from all across the United States and Canada. The fifteen new athletes will help complete a full roster of over 30 players.
Among these incoming recruits, Gallihugh looks forward to freshman attacker and midfielder, Ashley Swearingen bringing her skills and knowledge to the team.
“Ashley is the one I have seen play for a few years now and is going to be a great asset,” said Gallihugh. “She’s a super solid player with her stick skills, her awareness, her form and technique and just her overall knowledge of the sport.”
Because different regions play lacrosse at different paces, the diverse backgrounds and areas of the new players is also expected to add versatility to the team. Players from the East Coast typically play at a faster pace, while players in Canada are used to more aggressive game play from playing both box and field lacrosse. Both techniques will add to the existing style of play for the Lopes.
Although the game play may take a little adjustment, Mercedes Hough, the Lopes’ sole Canadian recruit, is eager to get on the field. Hough is both an attacker and defensive player from Vancouver, British Columbia, who was introduced to GCU by a friend.
“I really liked how well the team connected,” said Hough. “My team was really close at home and we’ve always been like a family. I got that vibe when I came here that the team really connected well, and I really wanted to be a part of something like that.”
“I love to have the skills and mindset of box lacrosse players incorporated into field lacrosse as box lacrosse is a lot faster, skill based, and aggressive,” said Gallihugh.
Although contact in practice is minimal, the team will get lots of time to warm up and perfect things before their first scheduled game against the University of California, Santa Barbara on Jan. 29, 2021.
“Because we never technically touch the ball with our hands, we can do a lot of things stick-skill wise in distance, and we can do a lot of footwork stuff and shooting and defensive positions,” said Gallihugh. “It is going to be hard that we’re not going to be able to do any scrimmages or contact one-on-ones.”
Despite the adjustment in practice play, the team hopes to play a full schedule, facing familiar teams such as Arizona State University, University of Arizona, University of Southern California, and the University of California – Los Angeles. Lowered competition requirements for the Northern and Central regions may also allow the Lopes to play more out-of-league games. GCU Women’s Lacrosse plans to compete in the league games as well as take their two normal trips to California in 2021 for competitions, with decisions for the Western Women’s Lacrosse League (WWLL) and national competitions to be made in December.
Interested in GCU Women’s Lacrosse? Contact Head Coach Tracy Gallihugh for more information!