GVSU falls to Tiffin in overtime stunner

Lakers lose first GLIAC game in program history

By Brady McAtamney | 4/18/16 12:30am

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Chloe Zdybel (14) defends Grand Valley's net. The Lakers take the victory over Tiffin University Friday, April 1, 2016.
by Kevin Sielaff and Kevin Sielaff / The Lanthorn

Every streak has an end. From the first victory on, the streak meanders on until hitting a date when it comes to a close and a new one will potentially begin again.

The Grand Valley State lacrosse team extended its winning streak in conference play to 35-0 when it upended the Findlay Oilers (6-7, 3-5 GLIAC) 21-8, moving GVSU to 8-3 (6-0 GLIAC) on April 15.

The turf sang a different tune the very next day when the three-year conference unbeaten streak found its first smear as the Tiffin Dragons (8-5, 6-2 GLIAC) scraped past the Lakers in overtime 17-16.

“I think when we lose, it’s typically on us. I don’t think we made the smartest decisions, and as a result, it is what it is,” said GVSU head coach Alicia Groveston.

The Lakers started the game fairly strong, taking a 3-1 advantage in the opening seven minutes, but things quickly went south, as the Dragons put up seven of the next eight goals to claim an 8-4 lead. The Lakers responded, though, and got the lead to within one going into halftime.

Tiffin did not take kindly to GVSU's late surge. The Dragons opened the second half with four straight goals, bringing the lead to five with about 23 minutes to play. Once again, however, the Lakers responded. GVSU netted four straight goals to bring the score to 13-12.

Tiffin scored twice – one on either side of three goals from the Lakers – to send the match to overtime.

Early in overtime, Tiffin's Tori Nelson netted the goal that shattered the glass on GVSU's perfect conference record.

“I think this loss was a wakeup call for us. We’ve always come into GLIAC games knowing we’d win, but now we really need to come out and be a new team, work hard and not take anything for granted,” said sophomore Meghan Datema. “I think that we’re just going to go back to the basics. We’re going to focus on the team that we are and use those things moving forward and really become even better and get better every day at practice and be the team we need to be to win the NCAA Tournament.”

For a young team to be taking a hard loss with finesse, it starts with the coach, and Groveston displays it.

“I’m just proud of them. They didn’t quit. They came from five down. Overall, I’m proud of their effort, and I’ll be even more proud when we use this to our advantage," she said.

Groveston even said she felt relieved walking off the field following the loss as though, “100 pounds were lifted off my shoulders.”

GVSU and Tiffin squared off twice in the regular season, and the Lakers squeaked out a win in the first contest. The Lakers hold just a +2 margin over the Dragons after the two games, but the teams could see each other in the GLIAC Tournament.

Though the Lakers had to suffer through that heartbreaker, the other result went as planned. Erika Neumen netted a game-high eight goals to overcome Findlay, which only scored eight goals as a team in the game.

“I think we came out and wanted to play for our entire team and we focused on limiting our turnovers and not focusing on any outside influences. We played great as a team and (goalie) Sarah (Zwilsky) had a great game. I think our defense really stepped up as well,” Neumen said.

The eight goals from Neumen were enough to put her in a tie for second-most goals in a game by a Laker, and gave her sole possession of second place in all-time goals scored in GVSU history at 116.

The Lakers, now at 8-4 (6-1 GLIAC), will hit the road to face off against Indianapolis (6-4, 4-4 GLIAC) on April 22.

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