Neumen sisters reunite, shine at GVSU
Two sisters, Alyssa Neumen and Erika Neumen, first made a name for themselves at Rockford High School, winning three combined championships during their careers with the powerhouse program.
Following their time at Rockford, the sisters chose different paths.
Alyssa, now a senior at Grand Valley State, began her collegiate career with the Lakers in 2012. Erika went to Division I Hofstra as a freshman last season but, after the dream of playing at the NCAA's top level didn’t go as planned, she transferred to GVSU.
“Hofstra was a big dream for her and it took a couple months,” Alyssa said. “She was hard on herself for not having the chance to continue playing at the Division I level."
While the change was difficult, Erika bounced back and focused on playing for the Lakers.
And she's made her presence felt in a hurry.
An integral part of the team's offense, the midfielder has been consistently putting shots between the pipes. In just five games, Erika has tallied 20 goals and three assists while taking just 30 shots.
“She’s been able to adapt to our style of play and, as a playmaker, she creates opportunities to score,” said coach Alicia Groveston.
Alyssa, meanwhile, has continued to dominate on defense, scooping up five ground balls and forcing one turnover thus far in 2015. She's transitioned smoothly from midfield to defense this season, and certainly appears to have a shot at winning her third straight GLIAC Defender of the Year award.
Stacked resumes aside, Erika and Alyssa try to emulate leadership and responsibility through example on and off the field. For Erika, it's about encouraging teammates and promoting a relaxed mentality.
“I want them to have fun and not feel as if they are forced to be here,” Erika said. “I want to instill in them that they can have fun with the sport and to focus on forgetting their mistakes."
Alyssa echoed similar sentiments and said she wants players to understand that not many people get the opportunity to play at the college level. They should enjoy every moment.
The legacy they wish to impart on the program originated from Groveston's motto: “Respect your legacy, become your own legend.”
“Lacrosse and other sports give so much more than just playing,” Groveston said. “We want players to respect what the future could hold and we want to set them up for the future. We want to give them direction so they become responsible for what happens even after they leave Grand Valley."
Possessing the skills, experience and insight to lead the program to greatness, the possibility of sustained success is far from outlandish with the Neumen sisters on the team. And if the dynamic duo continues to get it done on the field, more championships could be on the horizon.