Quick start fuels GVSU in win at Urbana
The Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse team began its 17-3 win at Urbana with a bang.
Senior midfielder Rachel Leibovitz rifled one between the pipes to put GVSU on the board just 60 seconds into the game before five Lakers combined to score seven goals in the opening 10 minutes.
“This was more of a complete team win,” said GVSU coach Alicia Groveston. “We took smart shots, played as a team and didn’t force issues."
Following goals from Leibovitz, Erika Neumen, Victoria Devine, Sarah Lowe and Zoe Stiemann, freshman Kerrigan Baird checked in for the Lakers. Baird made her presence felt in a hurry, notching her first career goal 40 seconds later on a look from Leibovitz. Freshman Ashley Bailey scored for the first time in her career less than three minutes later, giving the Lakers a commanding 9-0 lead early on.
Urbana managed to slip a goal past the GVSU defense, but not before allowing two more. GVSU controlled the flow of the game with more forced turnovers (15), draw controls (15) and ground balls (14) in the opening frame, which allowed them to relax a bit and settle into an offense.
Bailey said the team has been working on offensive flow in practice lately, but the offensive outburst had just as much to do with defense.
"When you make a killer stop on defense, it fires up the offense,” she said.
Bailey tallied her second goal of the game in the second half, one of six tallies for GVSU.
Devine, one of two Lakers to finish with five points, said slowing down on offense allowed the team to run through plays and communicate while on attack. She finished with a hat trick and two assists.
Leibovitz added two goals and three assists, Lowe tacked on two goals and an assist and Brooke Ingraham came through with two second-half goals. Eleven different Lakers found the back of the net.
The big lead gave Groveston a chance to experiment with roster rotations and player combinations.
“They really wanted to set the tone and take the opportunities we had,” she said. “I was impressed to see people step up and perform at their highest level on the field and show what they can do."
The Lakers have proven that the talent on the roster runs deep, but playing at home may give them an extra edge when they welcome No. 3 Lindenwood in their home opener on Tuesday. Now 3-3 on the season and ranked No. 19 in the most recent Nike/Lacrosse Magazine media poll, the Lakers look to close out pre-conference matches on a hot streak and ride the momentum into GLIAC play.
“I think we’re all pumped to finally have a home game and want to make sure we play our best in our home stadium in our home opener,” Devine said. “But, at this point, it doesn’t matter where or who we play, what matters is that we play the best that we can to have the results we want."