Skomial leads Lakers to fifth straight win
GVL/Kevin Sielaff #16 Sarah Lowe #22 Kali Heller-Spencer
In the 2013 season, the Grand Valley State University women’s lacrosse team started out on rocky footing. GVSU split its first four games against non-conference opponents before dropping three in a row prior to GLIAC play.
Then, the Lakers went on a tear by annihilating GLIAC competition to the tune of eleven straight victories en route to winning the first-ever conference championship.
This year is nothing but déjà vu all over again for GVSU (7-5, 4-0), or so it would seem up to this point in the season. After splitting its first four games against non-conference teams in 2014, GVSU dropped three in a row in the final games leading up to GLIAC play. Now, GVSU is in the midst of a five-game tear through conference play as they aim for back-to-back GLIAC championships. Sound familiar?
“We’ve been here before so we know what we need to do and what the end result could be,” said GVSU head coach Alicia Groveston. “This team is very different from last year’s. I think the potential that this team has exceeds the potential from last year.”
The Lakers won their fourth and fifth consecutive games over the weekend, blanking Alderson-Broaddus University in a 20-0 rout on Friday before topping Tiffin University 15-9 on Sunday.
GVSU dominated in all facets from start to finish on Friday by placing 36 shots on goal while only allowing just one shot from Alderson-Broaddus. The Lakers posted their second shutout in school history, and did so without their starting goaltender.
Sophomore Carolyn Kraus scored the winning goal just 20 seconds into the contest as she took a pass from Sarah Lowe and buried it in the back of the net. Kraus’ goal opened the floodgates for a balanced Laker attack to rush through, and GVSU had a 14-0 lead by halftime.
Twelve Lakers scored goals, while three more tallied assists. Junior Ali Dixon led the way with four goals, freshman Ryan Skomial netted a hat trick to go with one assist, and Lowe chipped in with four helpers.
Sophomore midfielder Livvy Mickevicius, the team’s acting goaltender in the absence of injured freshman Sarah Zwilsky, recorded the shutout for GVSU in just her third career start.
The Lakers were able to carry the momentum into Sunday’s game in Allendale as Skomial netted a first-half hat trick – her second in as many games – as GVSU took a 9-4 lead into the break.
Zwilsky returned to the circle for the Lakers after missing the previous three games with a knee injury after hurting it in practice two weeks ago. She made six saves and allowed nine goals to improve her record to 4-5 on the season.
“It’s great to be back but today was a little disappointing,” Zwilsky said. “I can’t blame it on (the layoff) but some of the free-position shots gave me trouble today.”
The Lakers had 10 different players contribute in the goal column, although the offense was stymied for a period in the second half when GVSU failed to tally a goal for a 17-minute stretch.
The game was slowed time-and-time again by penalty calls, as the affair took on a physical form as the game progressed. Tiffin committed 31 fouls to GVSU’s 27.
“There are going to be teams you face that play physically,” said freshman Kira Dosenberry, who scored two goals in the victory. “You just have to stay strong and be composed.”
GVSU will look to extend its winning streak with a conference matchup at home against Ursuline College next Thursday at 5 p.m.