GVSU secures back-to-back GLIAC titles
GVSU junior midfielder Alyssa Neumen passes the ball during a recent home game.
The Grand Valley State University lacrosse team may not have had the non-conference record it was looking for in 2014, but that didn’t stop it from manufacturing a flawless regular season in GLIAC play.
GVSU is rolling, and — just like its 10-0 campaign last year — it’s rolling at the right time. After a brow-furrowing 2-5 start, the Lakers have gone on a tear by winning nine straight games to improve their all-time GLIAC record to 18-0.
The team hosted Urbana University on Friday with a chance to clinch the regular season title on Senior Day. Defenders Ashley Stoltenberg and Brianna Shefferly were honored along with midfielders Meagen Emery and Ali Dixon in a pre-game ceremony. The seniors teamed up for four goals and three assists in their final regular season home game, and the Lakers won 18-0.
“For me it means everything to win the GLIAC at home,” Shefferly said. “This was one of our big goals. We all really wanted to do this. The other seniors and I were reminiscing on last year having a week to spend with the team at home for the GLIAC Tournament — it’s the best.”
Junior attacker Sarah Lowe netted the first goal a mere 12 seconds into the contest before freshman Ryan Skomial potted two of her own a few minutes later to give GVSU a 3-0 lead. Freshman midfielder Kira Dosenberry led the team with four goals and Dixon netted a hat trick of her own in a game where eleven different Lakers scored goals.
Freshman goaltender Sarah Zwilsky stood in net for GVSU — but didn’t need to do much else. Zwilsky made a save on the only shot she faced as the Lakers outshot Urbana by a telling mark of 35-1.
The second game of the weekend played on Sunday in West Virginia against Wheeling Jesuit University was much of the same for GVSU, which was playing for back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in GLIAC play.
Skomial and junior attacker Zoe Stiemann scored hat tricks, and similar to the tilt against Urbana, the game was never in doubt as the Lakers cruised to a 17-5 victory.
“We played really well as a team today and we’re really coming together as a whole,” said Emery, who tallied four points in the win. “We’re going to have to play all-around well on offense, defense and in the midfield. We just need to work as a whole to make sure we get that ring.”
The Lakers opened the game on an 8-0 run, but Wheeling Jesuit managed to get on the board before the end of the first half. The second half was slightly closer, as a late defensive lapse allowed the Cardinals to tally three goals, but the Lakers prevailed. Zwilsky made five saves in the victory.
The Lakers tallied 144 goals in conference play this season and gave up just 32. With so much supremacy, one might wonder how the team stays motivated.
“At times when you’re playing so well, it can be tough to focus,” coach Alicia Groveston said. “Sometimes it can be difficult because you don’t want to embarrass anybody, but I think (my players) have done a really good job of avoiding that.”
GVSU (11-5, 8-0) will look to continue its dominance in the GLIAC Tournament on Tuesday (quarterfinals), Friday (semifinals) and Sunday (finals) in Allendale. First-round matchups and game times are TBA.