Goalie-less Lakers throttle Findlay, Lake Erie
Junior attack Zoe Stiemann dodges a defensive player from Roberts Wesleyan to make it to the goal. GVL / Hannah Mico.
The members of the Grand Valley State University women’s lacrosse team take pride in their depth. It’s a team chock full of offensive firepower that can score in bunches. However, the depth doesn’t carry through the entire roster.
GVSU was faced with a tough situation when the only goalie listed on its roster, freshman Sarah Zwilsky, went down with a knee injury during practice last week.
To make matters worse, the Lakers were two days away from opening GLIAC play on a two-game road trip.
“It was a bit of a trying couple of days,” head coach Alicia Groveston said. “Not having your starting goalkeeper is going to throw anyone, but the biggest thing for us was to stay positive.”
Enter: sophomore midfielder Livvy Mickevicius.
Groveston called upon Mickevicius on Thursday night to inform her that her role had changed. Never mind that her only experience in net was in high school. Or that it was a different sport.
It didn’t matter.
The Lakers (5-5) steamrolled the University of Findlay 19-8 on Friday to begin their campaign as the reigning conference champions, and they followed it up with more of the same on Sunday by knocking off Lake Erie College by the same score.
In game one, GVSU scored 14 first-half goals as juniors Zoe Stiemann and Brooke Ingraham combined for 10 points while Mickevicius made six saves in her collegiate debut.
“No matter who’s in the cage or on the field, we can win,” Groveston said.
Stiemann opened the scoring with her first of five goals less than two minutes into the game before midfielder Carolyn Kraus scored four minutes later to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead.
They were just getting started.
Nine GVSU players found the back of the net as the team obliterated Findlay, which Groveston expects to compete for the GLIAC title in 2014.
The balanced Laker attack assaulted the net again on Sunday as Stiemann, Ingraham, and midfielders Ryan Skomial and Carolyn Kraus all netted hat tricks to lead GVSU. Junior Victoria Devine added five points, while Mickevicius made nine saves in the second game of her goaltending career.
Kraus notched two goals within the first five minutes of the game as the Lakers jumped out to yet another 2-0 lead. The Storm cut the lead in half with its first goal of the contest, but GVSU went on a 5-0 run over the next nine minutes to go up 7-1.
Lake Erie sliced GVSU’s lead to three at 9-6 courtesy of five goals from standout Ashriel West, but the Lakers tallied four unanswered to put the game out of reach.
“Winning the first game helped us get back into it, and it’s great to snap the losing streak,” Stiemann said. “We want to keep this up in conference play so we can bring the championship back to Allendale.”
GVSU tallied 37 shots to that of 23 for Lake Erie, keeping pressure in its offensive end for the majority of the tilt. The Laker defense, gaining confidence in the new goaltender, caused 21 turnovers to relieve Mickevicius.
“I really like playing the field, but I know the team has my back out there,” she said. “But I’d rather take the shots than be in front of them.”
The Lakers, who are awaiting official news about Zwilsky’s status, will look to push their winning streak to four games against Alderson-Broaddus College in Allendale on Friday at 7 p.m.