By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
Moving on up.
On Sunday, the Western Women’s Lacrosse League unanimously voted to accept the Grand Canyon University women’s lacrosse program’s bid to become Division I in the Southern Conference for the 2018 spring season.
GCU’s women’s lacrosse team has won back-to-back WWLL DII championships as well as been a top five power in the Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association in DII. The women’s lacrosse program has been going strong in its three-season history, and will now make a great impact in WWLL as a DI program.
The competition will be stiffer than what they are use to. The Lopes will be taking on teams such as Arizona State University, University of Arizona, University of San Diego, San Diego State University, University of California-Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and the University of Southern California.
Though the competition will be harder, head coach Tracy Gallihugh does not see that as a problem. “I am very excited to have moved up from DII to DI,” Gallihugh said. “It will give us the competition to really push our team to reach their full potential. You have to play the best to be the best, and I think everyone will surprised at how much quicker they grow when they play harder teams throughout the entire season.”
Becoming DI not only provides GCU the status but also the home perks.
“Another great benefit of moving into DI is that we will have more home games,” said Gallihugh. “The other programs in DI are more established and supported. Thus, they are able to travel more. Our conference now has three Arizona teams, which gives out-of-state opposing teams a great reason to travel to Arizona. We had just two home games last year as a DII team, (but) we already have at least five home games for this upcoming season as a DI team.”
New division, new competition, but with the same goal in mind.
“We have a lot of skill, passion, and potential on our team that will drive us to compete,” Gallihugh said. “If the girls keep focused and keep their ambitions high, I believe we can go back to the playoffs and even nationals this year as a DI team.”
The GCU women’s lacrosse will kick off their DI inaugural season in January 2018. Let’s go Lopes!