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Grand canyon 59


Audrey Miller and the Wildcats fell short of the win but continue to build around their young talent. (Photo credits: Josh Pearson)

February 1- In the second year for Head Coach Tatum Quimby, Arizona is well on its way to a strong foundation with a stable of talent that is learning every week what it takes to play at the college level. If Saturday is any indicator, there are still lessons to learn but Coach Quimby has the team on the right track, with the Wildcats stringing together glimpses of attack and defense that will be their building blocks for the future. The Lopes, coming into the game having defeated Arizona by a substantial margin in 2023, faced a stiffer test this time in Tucson, with the backline core of Amelie Umholtz, Talia Ben-Yosef, and Molly Chisholm pulling the strings on attack and doing their best to defend the gainline. "Playing skilled teams like GCU shows both new and veteran players how we can improve" said Umholtz. "The game was a hard loss, but it only riles us up to attack the rest of our season." 

The Lopes would start well on the road, taking advantage of the short Arizona kickoff to work their way down the field and send a message to the Wildcats with a pick and go try after well-worked phases. The Wildcats would respond, with strong defense creating three set piece opportunities in the Lopes' half that they would lose, followed by two turnover balls off of intercepts that would make it 17-0 in the 17th minute. The visitors would pour on another try off of a stolen set piece, putting the Wildcats in a 22-0 deficit. A GCU turnover led to a chip ahead by Annie Hoffman, with the Fullback knocking on the bouncing ball 30 meters out in what would have been a scoring opportunity. GCU would make the Wildcats pay one more time off of turnover ball, turning a knock on after a few strong phases of attack into a Lopes try just before halftime to make it 29-0. Callie Andrews would force a GCU penalty with a turnover at the breakdown to give the Wildcats an attacking chance, but handling errors again would stifle them twice in the last few minutes, taking the Cats to the break with a deficit to climb out of.

In the second half, the adjustments from the staff were on display early, with improved defense and some solid tackling from athletes like Center Natalie Hopkins and Prop Audrey Miller helping Arizona attempt to claw back into the game. While an early score made it 36-0, Arizona would soon string together stronger phases of defense, with Hoffman saving the Wildcats multiple times and helping anchor the back three. That back three took a hit early in the half when Sophia Bruzga was assessed a yellow card for a high tackle, dropping the Wildcats to 14 athletes for ten minutes. GCU would convert, making it 41-0. GCU would continue to make the Wildcats pay, with a late penalty by Talia Ben-Yosef the only points for the hosts in the effort, one that was disappointing but still a sign of the improvement the side has shown. "I'm really pleased with the progress that the team has made between this season and last. GCU is a tough opponent and this match revealed some areas for us to work on over the next few months. I'm proud of our players for keeping their heads up, playing hard, and making an effort to lift each other up on the pitch no matter the circumstances" said Quimby.


The Wildcats will have a bye week before hosting UC-San Diego on February 10th at Sitton Field when they will look to even up their 2-3 overall record. For the Wildcats full schedule click here.




1. Grace Uso

2. Aspen Wrzesinske

3. Audrey Miller

4. Callie Andrews

5. Ruby Trella

6. Claire Cipolla

7. Gabby Sheffield

8. Landry Moore

9. Amelie Umholtz

10. Talia Ben-Yosef

11. Megan Garland

12. Molly Chisholm

13. Natalie Hopkins

14. Sophia Bruzga

15. Annie Hoffmann


16. Alyssa Kane

17. Arian Sage

18. McKenna Whisenant-Becko

19. Emma Cook

20. Lena Boucher

21. Pele Kruse

22. Nicole Vann

23. Adrienne Emma

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