Lacrosse trains to keep title

Team using fall season to prepare for spring challenges

By Adam Knorr | 10/2/13 5:07pm

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GVL / Archive
Rachel Leibovitz


Last year, Grand Valley State University ushered in women’s lacrosse as a Division II program, but it
didn’t take long for the Lakers to make an impact.

In the inaugural year for ladies’ lacrosse, the Lakers cascaded through their conference schedule,
tossing up an 8-0 record in the GLIAC en route to a well-deserved conference championship. As the
2014 spring season approaches, GVSU has no intention of relinquishing its title.

On the last weekend in September, the Lakers traveled to Milwaukee to take part in a weekend of
scrimmages against Division I competition. GVSU played in the equivalent of three games, finishing
with a 1-1-1 record. The fall scrimmages serve as precursors to the spring season and give GVSU an
opportunity to flow as a team before the real games begin.

“The fall season is a time to run through lines of people and see who meshes well and connects on
passes,” junior defenseman Brianna Shefferly said. “We’ve been performing really well against some
up-and-coming DI teams.”

Taking the field against the more difficult Division I competition—such as Marquette University and
the University of Cincinnati—plays an immense role in preparing the Lakers to succeed come time for
conference play. GVSU still has a long road to traverse if it looks to capture back-to-back GLIAC titles.
Its journey includes filling the void left by former captain and GLIAC Attacker of the Year Allyson Fritts.
Fritts led the team last year with 56 goals and 17 assists, setting the bar high for future Laker
captains.

“(Fritts) was a great leader and role model…She helped make this program into what it is now,” junior
midfielder Meagen Emery said. “She left a leadership role to fill, but we’ve had a lot of people step up
and take it on.”

Following the loss of such veteran talent, the 2013 Laker squad has wasted no time in recuperating,
seamlessly knitting together a tight core. The team boasts 26 players: an impressive 18 players from
last year, as well as seven new freshmen and one new sophomore. Despite only being active for one
season, GVSU is full of players with in-game experience.

Although the Lakers accomplished fantastic feats throughout the 2012 campaign, the final record for
GVSU stood at 10-7. Standout midfielder Rachel Leibovitz said she believes the Lakers have a chance
not only to repeat as GLIAC champions, but to significantly improve their overall record on the way.

“We have a lot of potential to do better at the beginning of the season this year,” Leibovitz said. “The
intensity level has really stepped up, and we’ve started at a higher level than last year.”

Besting the overall results of last year will take nothing short of top-tier performance week in and
week out for the Lakers, but that doesn’t mean the expectations are any less.

Behind the direction of 2012 GLIAC Coach of the Year Alicia Groveston, the Lakers will continue their
spring season as they host the GVSU Laker Lacrosse Classic on Oct. 5.

aknorr@lanthorn.com

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