Meghan Datema leading GVSU women's lacrosse in strong senior season
Meghan Datema has been, in a word, incredible for the Grand Valley State women’s lacrosse team this season.
In the team’s first nine games, Datema scored an impressive 26 goals to lead her team. More specifically, Datema scored in six consecutive games, netting 22 goals in that span. The Lakers have won each of those games.
Lacrosse found its way into Datema’s life when she was in sixth grade because it was the first year that a team was offered at Rockford High School. She became interested not only because of her love for sports but because her brother had also played lacrosse. Datema said she always mimicked what her brother did, and from then on, lacrosse stayed in her life and became something she was very good at.
In high school, Datema was a four-year varsity player and won back-to-back state championships her junior and senior years. She gives all of the credit to the program they had in place at Rockford.
“I was under some great players who really pushed me to be the best lacrosse player that I can be," Datema said. "And we had a great coach leading the program.”
When it came time to look for colleges, continuing her lacrosse career wasn’t initially in the plans. Datema knew she wanted to stay in the state of Michigan and had considered schools such as the University of Michigan and Michigan State before visiting GVSU. That visit is what ultimately swayed her decision.
“I came here on a visit and just fell in love with the school,” Datema said. "I thought about how much I did really love lacrosse and how it really could help me through these four years and help me make a bond with my teammates and have a great time while studying as well.”
Coming into a university and joining a team with people who are older and more experienced can be daunting for an 18-year-old. Datema found herself in a position where she was the quiet, shy player on the team. She credits the captains and seniors on the team for being great leaders, but it was the freshman class that she entered with that helped her feel more comfortable.
Women’s lacrosse coach Alicia Groveston has seen a lot of progress from Datema in her time at GVSU.
“She was one of the ones who filled a big void for us," Groveston said. "She stepped up when it came to scoring and in the draw circle. This year, there has been a lot more strategy involved when it comes to the draw circle, and she has been a major part of that.”
Datema has been a contributor on the lacrosse team since her freshman year, but she has taken her game to a new level this year.
“I think our team chemistry has helped us go a long way this year," Datema said. "We have a lot of selfless players, so we have meshed well together. Our coaches are very invested and having their knowledge and scouting reports really help us. I think knowing it’s my senior year and this is all I have means I have to give it all I’ve got.”
The friendships she has made with her teammates constitute some of Datema's favorite Laker memories.
"We have girls from places (like) Maryland and Texas, and I would have never known them had I not played lacrosse," she said. "We all have the same schedule, and even though we all hate the 6 a.m. practices and lifts, we all do it and get through it together, so it’s fun.”