Lopes’ hard work pays off
By: Maria Adams and Giovanni Hicks/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
Athletes put in hours of work and dedication towards their sport. While this drive mostly comes from the sheer love of the game, it does not often go unnoticed by peers and coaching staff.
Preslee Rodriguez and Dylan Bricker have been selected for Grand Canyon University Club Sports August Student-Athletes of the Month. Both students have been recognized for their accomplishments and devotion to their respective sports with noteworthy honors.
Preslee Rodriguez: Women’s Soccer
Leadership has no age requirement.
With just one season under her belt, Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Soccer sophomore Preslee Rodriguez was appointed team captain for the coming season.
“I was recognized for my leadership abilities and passion for the game after barely a year and not very many games,” said Rodriguez. “This is a big deal to me, and I am excited for the season.”
Being the young one is not a new concept for Rodriguez, since she began playing soccer at just four years old. She participated in recreation leagues throughout her youth until she transitioned to club soccer and joined Legends FC, and later played all four years at Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda, California.
“My mom played soccer throughout college and also did an adult league, so it was just the natural choice for me to join,” said Rodriguez. “As I kept playing, I just fell in love with it.”
Now embarking on her second year of college, Rodriguez has grown to be thankful for the impact that the soccer has had on her transition into this new phase of life.
“Club soccer has given me some automatic friendships and provided me with an outlet to just do something I love when school or life gets stressful,” said Rodriguez. “It feels like I really found my home at GCU.”
Rodriguez currently holds a 3.9 GPA and is working towards a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science. Upon graduating from GCU, she plans to attend medical school and pursue her dreams of becoming a medical examiner.
With a new leadership title and increased comfort after getting the first year of college out of the way, Rodriguez is ready to get back to the action.
“I am looking forward to competing again,” said Rodriguez. “Getting to be involved in road trips and tournaments again this year will be so fun for the team, and I can’t wait to see what we can do.”
Dylan Bricker: Club Roundnet
“It is the goal of every Roundnet player to achieve Premier status,” said Dylan Bricker. “To be able to say that I am in the Premier division is such a sweet feeling.”
As a Roundnet player, entering the Spikeball Roundnet Association Premier Division is the highest individual status you can gain. Achieving this status requires a top-3 finish at an SRA-sanctioned event. Players with this status gain exclusive invitational tournament access as well as greater media coverage and exposure from the SRA.
Bricker of Grand Canyon University Roundnet achieved Premier Division honors after placing third in the highly competitive SRA Utah Roundnet Lake Tahoe Cup in late July. Bricker is now the third member of the GCU Roundnet team to achieve Premier status, alongside Trey Bowman and freshman recruit Ryan McCargar.
“Everyone on this roster should strive to earn Premier status,” said Bricker. “It’s not easy and will require a lot of time, energy, and travel, but I believe that everyone can do it if they put in the effort.”
While excited that he achieved Premier status, Bricker is more focused on the future success of his team. The senior is confident that with mentorship of the younger players, the Lopes will be a force to reckon with this season.
“I’m excited to work with the newer players this season and watch the team develop,” said Bricker “My goal is for us to be top 10 in the nation, and No. 1 on the west coast.”
The Lopes will kick off their season with the SRA California Association for the Sport of Roundnet Tour Stop Tournament at California Polytechnic State University on October 9.
Call to action: interested in GCU Club Sports? Learn how to join here!