GVSU's Wojichowski leads for Laker lacrosse
Senior defender develops into key cog for rising GV squad
GVL/Kevin Sielaff Caitlin Wojichowski runs through the huddle on March 26, 2016
No athletic club can survive without a leader in the locker room and on the field. The role defined the careers of legendary athletes like Steve Yzerman and Derek Jeter.
Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse has its own Jeter — Caitlin “Wojo” Wojichowksi.
“Caitlin is stable and she is reliable. She always works hard and she’s like the mother hen, teaching everyone to play defense to her caliber,” said senior Livvy Mickevicius.
Wojichowski hails from Milford, Michigan and embraces her role as the loud leader on the turf.
“The biggest thing that I bring to the team is my style of play and my ability to lead on the field," she said. "It’s hard on the field to communicate, but it’s key. You have to tell your teammates what’s going on, and my ability to lead my team is key and it’s probably why I got recruited."
Her assumption is correct. Head coach Alicia Groveston saw her at a few events and, “couldn’t help but notice how much she spoke on the field and her aggressiveness.”
For a team so focused on making a run at the Division II national tournament in May, having somebody on the turf directing traffic and making sure that operations are running smoothly is a necessity. Wojichowski provides this, and then some.
“Wojo is a vocal leader. She is the heart and soul of our defensive unit," Groveston said. "She takes our success and failure to heart and wants the best for our program. She is committed to our doing things we haven’t done yet like beating big teams and making the NCAA tournament."
The fourth-year player started her career as a Laker humbly, though. She didn't get much playing time in her freshman year, but in her sophomore season, a starting defender caught an illness and was rendered inactive. Knowing that she needed to take advantage of any opportunity presented, Wojichowski stepped in and ran away with the role.
Since then, she took on the role as a leader and a mentor to some of the younger players on the team.
“I can offer the younger girls a lot of input and different perspectives on how to handle different situations," Wojichowski said. "You always have to remember where you came from and how you acted when you were a freshman and sophomore and didn’t know what was going on. I think my experience can help everyone else going forward."
From the day she stepped on campus in 2012 to now, Wojichowski and the Lakers have seen their brand of lacrosse grow exponentially. A team that once used to find itself over the moon after winning a conference championship has developed an intense hunger that can only be sated by a berth in the NCAA tournament.
The Lakers are currently 1-2 , with the win coming over No. 5 Florida Southern, and the two losses coming at the hands of No. 1 Adelphi and No. 3 Lindenwood.
“We used to get bent out to losing to ranked teams and now we’ve beaten the No. 5 team (in the nation)," Wojichowski said. The bar keeps getting raised higher and higher and we have to step up in order to be a national championship program. We want to become that in the coming years, if not this year."
Once she graduates, Wojichowski will look to land a job within the Detroit Tigers organization working with its community outreach program. She cited her passion for sports and baseball as key factors regarding her occupational goals.
No. 33's leadership and mentality won’t soon be forgotten once she departs, but for now, Wojo and the rest of the Lakers have dreams to chase and work to do.