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Junior CJ Scholl (33)

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GVL / Archive Junior CJ Scholl (33)

Melanie Huhn

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Even though the Grand Valley State University men’s lacrosse team is technically a club sport, the players treat their practices and games as though they were part of a varsity program. Looking to win their first national championship, the Lakers have taken no prisoners thus far this season as they head down the home stretch.

Currently sitting at an undefeated 6-0, the Lakers are ranked first in the West Division of the Central Collegiate Lacrosse Association and third in the nation in Division II. This weekend, the team faces one of its toughest opponents, Dayton University, who rank second in the nation and first in the CCLA East Division.

The Lakers haven’t been shy of great competition this season. With a steady schedule, they have managed to capture wins against ranked competitors like St. John’s University (9-6) Indiana Tech (17-7). However, a perfect season isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for the team — it’s a national title.

“Every year that is our goal,” said senior Cory Gordon, team lacrosse. “Since 2008, the program took a serious competitive look at the sport and we have changed the way we trained, practiced and competed. We run our team more like a varsity program with stick practices and team rules. We always try to improve and make small steps here and there, but you can’t make the big step unless you make the small steps first.”

Making sure those small steps are taken first, the Lakers have been in the right mindset since fall training, helping to create their team camaraderie on and off the field. After graduating last season’s top goal scorer, Cam Holding, people have questioned the team’s all-around game play-making it their priority to prove they are a championship team.

“Despite losing our top seniors, we are an all-around team this year,” said senior defensive man Tyler McCullen.
“We have a solid defense, solid goal tending and add that too our always strong offense. Our biggest assets this year is our hard work.”

Like a varsity program, men’s lacrosse head coach Tim Murray and his assistants have changed operation during practice, improving the player’s knowledge of the game and discipline, which allows the players to stay in the competitive mindset. After losing twice in the championship over the last two years to cross-town rival Davenport University, the Lakers
understand their role of responsibility and are hoping that this season will be enough to get them their “two years in the making” national title.

Making sure not to look past the rest of the season, senior captain Daniel Mac Donell couldn’t pin-point one area of their game, that the Lakers needed to improve because they are confident in their game play-but that doesn’t mean they won’t stop bettering themselves.

“We have been working on just being comfortable on the field with each other” he said. “You can’t really improve unless you’re put into certain situations. We have been put into several different situations this season that have given us an opportunity to grow as a student of the game, and be able to look at those situations and be like I did this wrong, this right and we are getting better. This will help us in the future when we face future opponents.”

Looking to continue their streak the Lakers will face Dayton on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Dayton, Ohio, and Davenport on April 14.