GVSU soccer's Lierman, Ham win academic awards
The Grand Valley State women’s soccer team had a dominating season this past fall, as the Lakers battled their way to the NCAA Division II Championship game.
Even though the Lakers fell short, taking their first loss of the season against Bridgeport in the final, the Lakers ended the season with a 25-1-1 record. Not only were the Lakers successful on the field, but in the classroom as well.
Seniors Tara Lierman and Madz Ham were both honored for their academic performances in 2018 fall semester at GVSU.
Lierman, a midfielder, was awarded the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America first team, an award that is given to an upperclassman with at least 3.3 GPA, who either starts or plays in a significant number of matches in the player’s junior and senior years. Head coach Jeff Hosler said that earning this award further cements Lierman’s legacy into the soccer program, as she is the 21st Laker to win this award.
“Tara’s really going to be remembered for how she approached things on a daily basis,” Hosler said. “Including how committed she was to the program, how she made those around her better and how much work she put in. But it’s nice to have something tangible for those on the outside to see, as a reward or recognition for all the work that she does put in.”
Lierman feels honored to have been given the award, as many great Lakers before her have been given the same recognition, and says it means the world to her.
“When I first heard I got the award it was a bit surreal,” Lierman said. “I remember being a freshman and seeing people like Gabby Mencotti and Claire Carlson get these awards and I always dreamed of getting to that level, so knowing I did was such a cool feeling.”
Ham was also acknowledged for her performance in the classroom with the Google Cloud Academic All-America first team. With a GPA of 3.94, Ham graduated in December. Hosler says it’s a well-deserved honor for Ham as it is her second consecutive year earning the award.
“Madz is just an incredibly intelligent person, and really dedicated to her school work,” Hosler said. “She graduated early, so she did that in 3.5 years while also managing soccer.”
For Hosler and the soccer program, the most important thing for players to realize is that they are students first, and athletes second. And for these seniors, they played until the last game possible in season three out of four year at GVSU.
“They were playing soccer for the entire first semester,” Hosler said. “Which means they were managing midterms, finals and all their studying during the season, and to do as well as they have in the classroom over an extended period of time really speaks to their discipline and their preparedness.”
Lierman hopes that earning these awards shows the younger players that anything is possible if you put in the work and trust the process.
“This program is made of greatness and I hope all current and future Lakers know that it’s an attainable goal if you’re willing to stay committed to the process,” Lierman said.
Hosler said the team’s GPA this past season was a 3.25, which was significantly higher than last year, and believes that the younger girls took after the upperclassmen’ lead in their academics.
“The seniors have always done well in the classroom and set a really good tone,” Hosler said. “I think these younger players really took it to heart because of the performances they put together in the classroom this semester.”